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File 136116656792.jpg - (327.81KB , 800x629 , all-roads-lead-to-death.jpg ) [iqdb]
165203 No. 165203
>>163501

“Thanks for all the help, Mokou. Sorry for causing you so many problems.” You wonder what it’s like, being sincerely thanked by a black-clothed man with a mob of zombies at his back.

You hope it’s different from being sarcastically thanked by a black-clothed man with a mob of zombies at his back. That typically happens when you’re lying defeated on the ground and scrambling for a way to survive; it’s not very pleasant.

“There was more pain involved than I’d like, but it was fun, I guess. Thanks for helping out with the house.” Mokou nods and leans back against a stalk of bamboo.

The white-haired immortal was gracious enough to show you out of the forest. According to her, the nature of the bamboo forest causes most people to get lost. The effect seems like a type of natural magic, in a way, along with a physical phenomenon. Magical creatures and mundane ones can equally lose themselves in the stalks of bamboo.

There are a number of ways to navigate the area. The easiest for you to use, according to Mokou, is reference points. Her home and Eientei are essentially ‘fixed’ locations. Imagining walking towards or away from them will generally be enough to get you there and back, as long as you don’t lose your concentration. If one is only leaving, flying straight up can also work.

According to Mokou, the earth rabbits and Tewi take a different route. They let themselves get lost. They walk around without a care, trusting in their luck to take them where they need to go. As for the immortal, she beggared off with the excuse of living in the forest long enough to know her way around.

“I’ll make sure to come back out for some food again.”

“Was it really that good?”

“No, but it seemed like something nice to say.” You grin and turn tail, the jiang-shi closing ranks behind you.

“I’ll fry you!” Mokou’s cheerful reply bids you farewell.

Are you sure about not bringing her along? Yeah, there’s no reason to inconvenience her further. It’s not like you need the immortal to navigate the open fields of Gensokyo. Besides, you don’t want Mokou associating with a group like yours.

True enough, I guess. Do you really think moving the mob around like this is best? The jiang-shi would attract attention no matter the time of day. It’s better to get everybody hidden as quickly as possible and risk any early morning travelers than it is to walk around while everyone is awake.

It’s dark enough that nobody who is out and about could see you from any distance away. Just in case, you have Yoshika leading everybody on a circuitous route far around the village. With your group flying along the ground, you think you’ll reach your destination with the rise of the sun, hopefully before the farmers take to the field.

The zombie girl has you cradled in her arms, the other jiang-shi casually speeding along. No matter their physical condition, the zombies are capable of keeping up with the pace that Yoshika sets.

Only a minute after departing the bamboo forest, Yoshika strikes up conversation with the others. It’s simple talk, nothing intellectually stimulating, but they seem to enjoy themselves.

“Veg-e-tar-i-an? Doesn’t sound yummy…”

“Unh.”

“It is!”

“Nuuuuuh…”

“Hrm?”

“Me? I eat what master says to~”

“Hughmanhs?”

“Slitherers? Crawlers?”

“Raaaagh…”

It’s something of a mess when they all speak at once, but they have no problems conversing.

You don’t intrude on the talk, instead preferring to analyze the zombies more closely. Terrible conditions, but nothing unfixable. They are all probably able to tear apart a bear without a problem. All things you’ve already noticed.

They all have souls and are all intelligent, no matter how well they can express themselves. The jiang-shi seem friendly enough with each other, and are obviously well acquainted. You can’t notice any magical connections between them, so they can either understand the garbled moans of their companions or they’re just making things up.

Your attention is drawn to one of the jiang-shi in particular. It’s the one-armed one that you interacted with earlier.

He’s a pretty blonde boy, that lanky kind of guy that the girls might fawn over because of his curly hair and baby blue eyes. Of course, even if he’s almost as thin as Yoshika, there’s no doubt he could crush you. Between all the other new jiang-shi, he’s probably the one in best shape. That half-eaten arm is a problem, but the rest of him is fairly clean of any rot or degradation, maybe only slightly worse than Yoshika’s initial state. Despicable by your standards, but far better than what most necromancers might work with. His white dress shirt and brown overalls would be fit for a beggar, but they aren’t in complete tatters.

“Hey, you’re good to talk, aren’t you?” You speak up and try to get the one-arm’s attention.

Although he’s listening to the conversation, he isn’t participating. Just as you hoped, he floats a bit closer to speak with you. “Mhm.”

“What do you want to do with your new life?”

“Hm?”

Maybe not so intelligent? “You’ve been freed from your previous master’s service, and I don’t plan on enslaving you. Do you want to go free? To move on to whatever afterlife awaits you?”

It’s something you need to figure out. You’d like to take their opinions into account when deciding what to do with them.

“…I don’t know.” His voice is quiet, silky smooth and without a hint of worn out vocal chords.

“Why don’t you know? Does your previous master have some compulsion over you?”

“No. The seals were our only connection. I…just don’t know.” He looks troubled, unsure of himself.

How annoying. The indecisiveness isn’t surprising, though. After being controlled for long enough, a psyche can wear way. You imagine their personalities will reassert themselves given some time. Then again, that may not be the problem. From what you’ve experienced, choosing to ‘move on’ isn’t as simple as movies and stories like to portray. Once the dead can consciously choose instead of being dominated by their emotion, things get confusing. It takes a special kind of human to bravely face the unknown when the assured comfort of life is right there.

“To be like her.”

You blink and look at the blonde jiang-shi. “What was that?”

“Her. Yoshika is bright. I want to be like her.”

The zombie girl glances over when she hears her name and smiles at the blonde jiang-shi, but quickly returns to her chatting.

You’ll have to think about it some more.

Soon enough, your group reaches Myouren Temple’s cemetery. The sun is already rising, but luckily none of the monks are tending to the graves. Yoshika sets you down and the jaing-shi congregate around. “Damn, it’s already getting bright. Hey, everybody! You all have experience at not being seen, right? Stick around this area as inconspicuously as possible, if you please. Don’t eat anybody or anything either if you plan on getting my help.”

The jiang-shi listen to you and follow your directions without a fuss. They spread out, all of them wandering over to the trees around the temple. Some fly up and sit in tree branches while others slowly wander around the tree trunks. They aren’t unnoticeable, but a monk focused on tending the gravestones shouldn’t see them.

With that problem temporarily solved, you need to move on to the next hurdle. Facing Byakuren is not something you look forward to. Despite her accommodating nature, you somehow doubt that bringing all of Gensokyo’s jiang-shi to her doorstep will be well received.

The other concern on your mind is Reimu. You really don’t know what to think of the shrine maiden. For her sometimes subdued and polite manner, she’s quite obviously driven by her rampaging emotions. If nothing else, she’s dedicated to her job. You feel like she needs to be informed about what’s happened in regards to Seiga.

Who knows? Maybe you can return favor and throw a bit of suspicion on the other necromancer. That’s what she would get for trying to mess with you.

It’s a shame that if you try to explain to Reimu, you’ll probably end up pasted on the floor. Could your sister handle it? What do you mean, handle it?

Just…go with Yoshika and tell Reimu what’s happened. Head off the shrine maiden before her intuition decides to beat you up. Throwing Seiga under the bus is a secondary concern. I’m not sure about that. Mind, body, and soul – remember all that?

You do, but things need to get done. The fact that your sister’s mind can ride with Yoshika presents a huge opportunity you’ve never been able to consider before. You’re loathe to take risks when it comes to your sister, but the possibility… I get what you’re saying. Honestly, I’m starting to get excited to see how far away I can get from you. You’re right. This is a golden opportunity for us, for me. I can’t learn more about myself without trying, after all.

Wait, really? Now that you’re thinking about it, you really don’t like it. The rumors about that mind-melding personality-transferring colony jumps to the forefront of your brain. This is actually a terrible idea. The risk of your sister’s mind degrading is not- Too late!

What? No way!

Yoshika is already up and away after only a quick glance at you, no doubt carrying your sister with her.

“Yoshika, wait!” The zombie girl hesitates, waffling in the air until turning back to you.

You’re all set to order the zombie to stay attached to your side, but you stop short of issuing the order. If your sister wants to learn more about her own body, her life as it is, you shouldn’t stop her. The decision lies with her, disregarding your wavering opinion. “You can feel my sister in your mind, right?”

“Yes~”

“If you feel her…slipping, then come back to me. If she seems to change, to lose herself, come back to me as fast as possible, please.”

“Okay~”

“You stay safe, too. Don’t let the scary shrine maiden bully you, but don’t give her a reason to throw things at you either.”

“Mhm~”

Damn it, you don’t like this, even if you’re the one who suggested it. Aw, my little bro is worried sick over me. It makes my non-existent heart feel warm and fuzzy.

Cold arms draw you into a hug. “No worrying. Bye Master!” Just like that, your sister withdraws from your mind and takes off with Yoshika.

It leaves you alone, awkwardly standing at the edge of the cemetery. “Well, time to face the devil.”

It’s only after you pass the monk standing at the gate that you realize you never took off your black jacket. You can see the monks and nuns, both human and youkai, eyeing you with suspicion, but none of them bother you.

Maybe it’s just the shopping bags that they’re curious about? Ascetics don’t need good looking clothes, so they’re probably jealous.

You were surprised the clothes you bought even made it through all of the action in one piece. Yoshika had placed the bags on the ground before diving at Reisen during the incident, and the clothes had somehow remained unscathed and unnoticed through the danmaku barrage and subsequent shenanigans. They were patiently waiting for you as you left Mokou’s house.

Small miracles. You wish that luck could be transferred over to other areas of your life.

When you reach the doors to the main building, you wonder where Byakuren actually is. She gets such an early start in the morning, you might never find her on your own.

You shrug and shift the two bags of clothes to one hand. Then you reach out, grabbing a passing nun by the shoulder. “Where’s Byakuren?”

The woman, a twenty-something brunette, smacks your hand away and screeches. She hugs her arms to her sides and scampers off down the hallway, fleeing into one of the rooms.

Others react to the scream, monks peeking into the hallway from opened doorways and nuns looking in from the windows. A couple of burly pig-like youkai begin to stalk towards you, swathed in the robes of the war god.

“Oh, perfect!” You brush past the pigs and smile at Shou, the tiger-patterned girl leveling a serious look at you from where she peers out of a doorway.

Peeking into the room Shou is in, you see Byakuren, Minamitsu, and Ichirin all sitting down, enjoying some tea. You open the door wider and nod to Shou. “Thanks for showing me the way.”

As you walk in, you’re greeted by a grinning ghost. “Well, well, well! If it isn’t the rouge privateer limping back into port.”

You don’t comment and simply plop yourself down next to Minamitsu, the ghost girl grumbling as you push her over to make room. “Why don’t you go set anchor next to our dear head nun?”

There’s a very good reason for that, but before you can form a response, said head nun speaks up from across the table. “Welcome back. Your carefully prepared accommodations still await you.”

Uh, she sounds pissed. That smile on Byakuren’s face is far too forced. This was a mistake. A mistake to walk into this den alone, without support. You need to escape before she flays you alive with her- Calm down. You can deal with one angry, sister-like figure. “Ah, thanks Byakuren. Sorry for not coming back last night. Some things came up-”

Minamitsu slams her shoulder into yours, threatening to send you flying. “Our dashing young captain decided to raise his flag for another woman, huh? Who would’ve thought Reimu would put out for once?”

“I- She didn’t! She just beat everybody up, like you said!” You crush the panic in your voice before they can take it as an admittance of guilt. “I didn’t stay at her shrine or anything inappropriate.”

Byakuren takes a sip of tea. “What other place did you find lodging, then?”

“I stayed with Mokou at her-”

“Ohoho, I see! You really are interested in mature ladies, huh? Our kindly head nun wasn’t old enough, so you just had to find another! I think I understand the cut of your jib, now.”

You’re going to re-kill this ghost. You’re definitely going to do it, if those purple and black flames from across the table don’t exorcise her while scorching you in the process. “N-Not at a-all…”

You avoid a grisly end by talking, fast. The hurried explanations tumble out of your mouth as you report to Byakuren and her peers about what had happened the previous day. Luckily for you, Minamitsu’s incessant teasing ends when you begin to speak about the murder case and all that went on.

At some point in your speech, Shou returned from redirecting the angry monks outside the door. She, Byakuren, and Minamitsu listen impassively, while you notice Ichirin bubble with shock and surprise at some of the details in your story.

You story ends with your fixing up of Yoshika. After finishing speaking and seeing Shou staring at you with a critical eye, you realize you might never have told her about your necromancer status. Whoops.

It feels like the disciple of the war god might decide to spear you right on the spot, but her glare dissolves alongside a sigh. “You have a warrior’s disposition. Your execution might have lacked, but I applaud your efforts.”

“It was brave to stand up to Reimu,” Ichirn pipes up from where she sits.

“Brave, but foolhardy. What purpose does a good first-impression serve if you just ruin it later?” Byakuren’s terrifying aura has dissipated. Instead, she just sounds like a disappointed older-sister which, in some respects, is worse than a supernatural monster.

“So we can confirm you aren’t after the teenaged shrine maiden, but all the centuries old spinsters. Does this mean I’m next on the list?”

Everybody stares at Minamitsu before shaking their heads.

“Can we just move on? There’s something I need to talk about with you, Bykauren.” You try to reorient the conversation back towards what you need to tell Byakuren before something happens and you catch the blame.

When nobody moves, you try again. “Uh, in private, if we could. Please?”

“Anything you need to tell Byakuren could surely be shared with us,” Shou replies evenly.

The stalemate holds as nobody seems willing to meet your request. Thankfully, Byakuren intercedes on your behalf. “I don’t disagree, but if you would please, Shou? He might feel uncomfortable with so many around.”

“Very well.”

The three others get up and leave. Minamitsu bends over and whispers in your ear before dashing away. “Make sure she bites on something. If you’re too loud, our tiger-girl will hear you.”

Damn ghost.

Once the others have vacated the room, you can feel some of the tension disappear. “What is it you wish to speak of?” Byakuren idly sips tea and waits for you to begin.

“Well, uh, how do I put this?”

In the end, you simply continue your story for the head nun, continuing from where you woke up in the morning. You make sure to cover all of the thoughts you had during the time, too.

Byakuren sets her teacup down with an ominous clack. “To summarize, then. After antagonizing Seiga Kaku, she gifted you the responsibility of the jiang-shi she discarded, the ones that many consider a mild to great hazard to the safety of everybody. Then, you thought the best course of action would be to concentrate the walking dead and hide them in our cemetery despite the fact that such a large movement might attract attention of those who find undead to be abominations and might very well draw ire from the temple’s community itself or other outside powers?”

“To be fair, they’re mostly in the forest around the cemetery, I think.

“A leash.”

“Huh?”

“You need a leash. A harness and a muzzle as well, preferably.”

“That’s pretty harsh-”

“Are you daft?” Byakuren screams at you. “What kind of idiot are you? I swear, you’re one frustrating brat that doesn’t even try to-”

Byakuren cuts herself off and takes a deep breathe, physically willing herself to calm. “My apologies for that outburst. You do understand what kind of situation this puts me in, do you not?”

“I do.”

The nun sighs and slumps across the table in a rather undignified fashion. “I suppose I cannot fault you for your ideals. They were well-intentioned, if ludicrous. In truth, I suppose bringing the walking dead here is not the most absurd idea. At least they could still be considered ‘human’ in some fashion.” Byakuren’s voice trails off into a mutter. “It’s not like you wanted to have youkai and humans mix amicably…”

Byakuren props herself up on her elbows and looks at you. “We cannot keep them where they are. Disciples and travelling villagers will notice eventually. A single report would warrant our action to exterminate a perceived threat. Letting their souls move on to the next stage of their life before such accidents occur would be a fitting action. I could help you with such a task.”

“I considered it. A Buddhist would be helpful, in that regard. But, I’m not too sure. They’re mostly indifferent, but it feels like they would rather not give up on their new lives.”

“I see. In such a case, a more suitable location needs to be found. Preferably, somewhere devoid of humans.” Byakuren pauses to think. “Muenzuka. I would suggest keeping the jiang-shi at the cemetery at the end of the Road of Reconsideration. For such a large group, I doubt any youkai could trouble them.”

You have no idea where that even is. “Why is this Muenzuka special?”

“Few travel there, as the path is brimming with wild youkai, and only a graveyard filled with the unattached lays there. Additionally, one of Shou’s followers lives there. Nazrin could report to us if something unexpected were to occur.”

“That seems useful.” If it’s a place where nobody sociable travels to, then it might just be perfect. The jiang-shi would have time to become themselves and you might be able to work in safety from prying eyes. “Other than the jiang-shi, what do you think about the incident?”

“I cannot say. We will wait to see what Reimu and the others discover before acting. An elevated level of caution is the most I would propose for those at the temple. However, I suppose this incident puts your goal in sight.”

“It does. Assuming Kosuzu had a full copy of the real deal instead of a fake, I’ve never been closer in my life. The only problem is, I have no idea who took it.”

Byakuren nods and stands up. “Other than waiting for Reimu or continuing your own investigation, there may be another way to find what you seek. Nazrin has a talent for treasure hunting.”

“The mouse girl living in Muenzuka you mentioned?”

“The very same. She might very well be able to determine the book’s location if you wish to ask her.”

[ ] Send off the jiang-shi…
-[ ] All of them
-[ ] Only the ones without a clear goal
[ ] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[ ] Muenzuka
-[ ] The Forest of Magic
-[ ] The Bamboo Forest of the Lost
-[ ] Around Gensokyo, scattered as before
-[ ] <Somewhere else>
[ ] <Write-in>

[ ] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon
[ ] Find Reimu and see what she has found
[ ] Try to get into Eientei to talk with Reisen
[ ] Head into town to talk to…
-[ ] Akyuu
-[ ] Kotohime
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Here we go again. Thanks for sticking around everybody. I hope we have a completely safe and non-lethal journey through this thread.

Also completely unapologetic about the delay because fuck everybody else, I have FE:A in my hands. I actually love you all, I just have low willpower and am easily addicted to vidya. Please forgive me.
Expand all images
>> No. 165205
[x] Send off the jiang-shi…
-[x] Only the ones without a clear goal.
[x] Hide the remaining jiang-shi in…
-[x] Muenzuka
[x] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

Fire Emblem addiction is an understandable excuse.
>> No. 165206
[X] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[X] Muenzuka
--[X] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

[X] Find Reimu and see what she has found
>> No. 165207
[x] Send off the jiang-shi…
-[x] Only the ones without a clear goal.
[x] Hide the remaining jiang-shi in…
-[x] Muenzuka
[x] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

Most natural course of action
>> No. 165208
[x] Send off the jiang-shi…
-[x] Only the ones without a clear goal.
[x] Hide the remaining jiang-shi in…
-[x] Muenzuka
[x] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

Sounds good.
>> No. 165210
[x] Send off the jiang-shi…
-[x] Only the ones without a clear goal.
[x] Hide the remaining jiang-shi in…
-[x] Muenzuka
[x] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

The MC can hardly care for a dozen jiang shi simultaneously, so it's better to let the ones that want to pass on. After that, we can have Nazrin search for the Necronomicon and direct us to its location. Besides, our goal was to 'find the Necronomicon to revive dead sister', not 'build up jiang shi army to take over Gensokyo'.
>> No. 165211
[X] If any of the jiang-shi actually want to move on to the next stage of existence or reincarnation or whatever – a serious desire - do so. Otherwise, they represent a massive power-bloc I’m loathe to give up.
[X] Take your crew to Muenzuka.
[X] If we could find where Kotohime stashed the body, with or without her knowledge… speaking to the dead to know their wishes seems less egregious than raising them entirely. Is this possible? Or to raise them as a ghost like Minamitsu rather than a zombie?
-[X] Or, I don’t know, maybe the red-white would be better? Reimu seems really tetchy about secrets, so maybe if we got it out in the open that we know a spell to speak to the deceased… she’d probably want to watch, though.
>> No. 165212
[X] If any of the jiang-shi actually want to move on to the next stage of existence or reincarnation or whatever – a serious desire - do so. Otherwise, they represent a massive power-bloc I’m loathe to give up.
[x] Hide the remaining jiang-shi in…
-[x] Muenzuka
[X] If we could find where Kotohime stashed the body, with or without her knowledge… speaking to the dead to know their wishes seems less egregious than raising them entirely. Is this possible? Or to raise them as a ghost like Minamitsu rather than a zombie?
-[X] Or, I don’t know, maybe the red-white would be better? Reimu seems really tetchy about secrets, so maybe if we got it out in the open that we know a spell to speak to the deceased… she’d probably want to watch, though.
>> No. 165213
[X] If any of the jiang-shi actually want to move on to the next stage of existence or reincarnation or whatever – a serious desire - do so. Otherwise, they represent a massive power-bloc I’m loathe to give up.
[X] Take your crew to Muenzuka.
[X] If we could find where Kotohime stashed the body, with or without her knowledge… speaking to the dead to know their wishes seems less egregious than raising them entirely. Is this possible? Or to raise them as a ghost like Minamitsu rather than a zombie?
-[X] Or, I don’t know, maybe the red-white would be better? Reimu seems really tetchy about secrets, so maybe if we got it out in the open that we know a spell to speak to the deceased… she’d probably want to watch, though.
I like this idea.
>> No. 165214
>>165210

Adding the following to my vote:
[X] If we could find where Kotohime stashed the body, with or without her knowledge… speaking to the dead to know their wishes seems less egregious than raising them entirely. Is this possible? Or to raise them as a ghost like Minamitsu rather than a zombie?
-[X] Or, I don’t know, maybe the red-white would be better? Reimu seems really tetchy about secrets, so maybe if we got it out in the open that we know a spell to speak to the deceased… she’d probably want to watch, though.

I'd think that having Nazrin search for the Necronomicon while we investigate the incident would be an effective use of our resources, since we'd be doing two things at once. After all, it doesn't seem as though Nazrin would be terribly inconvenienced by a request to search for the book.
>> No. 165215
[x] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[x] Muenzuka
[x] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon

Let's let the Jians-shi recover for now, and Nazrin could be helpful.
>> No. 165216
[X] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[X] Muenzuka
--[X] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

[X] Find Reimu and see what she has found

This is optimal.
>> No. 165217
File 136122441611.jpg - (18.05KB , 320x240 , 3f04.jpg ) [iqdb]
165217
>>165216
... because killing ('Sending off') someone just because they're still confused due to their recent freedom is just being a grade A dick.

I need to stop hitting reply so quickly.
>> No. 165218
[X] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[X] Muenzuka
--[X] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

[X] Find Reimu and see what she has found
>> No. 165219
[X] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[X] Muenzuka
--[X] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

[X] Find Reimu and see what she has found

I'm lovin' every minute of this. It's a shame that good stories like this are in limited supply these days.
>> No. 165220
[X] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[X] Muenzuka
--[X] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

[X] Head into town and talk to Akyuu.

I'd rather wait until they find more of themselves before making a final decision.
>> No. 165221
I'm a little bad at expressing myself, so I guess I'll just launch into it.

I've felt a few flaws in the narrative in this story. The main plot, far as I can tell, is centered around the main character trying to bring his sister back to life, but he seems more interested in exploring Gensokyo and talking to girls rather than going after his main motivation. You'd think that someone who has been devoting his entire life to a cause would pick up the pace a little bit when he finds out that his long sought after goal is now closer than ever before.
I am aware that this is a result of going the more relaxed "wander around Gensokyo" story route and of reader choices, and I have nothing in particular against that kind of story, but it ends up conflicting with the "main" plot. Given reader choices would ideally help direct the story, not scatter it all over the place.

To expound, there's no urgency or weight to getting the sister back to life. She gives no sign that she dislikes the situation, and even jokes about her own incorporeal status.
It would have been a little easier to care if maybe the sister expressed some kind of discomfort in reaction to being stuck into someone else's mind for years. Maybe they'd have a little more serious friction going, from being so close for so long, or there's some metaphysical threat that deteriorates her mind, or it's a sore subject for her, or something. Anything. Any kind of insight into her would be nice, actually.
As it is, the characters themselves don't seem to care about their main motivations, and if they don't care, why should I?


I'm not suggesting you change your entire story, but it's just a few thoughts for the future.
>> No. 165223
>>165221
I think the spirit of the story is more ‘slice of life’ This means that every thing you complained about is actually intended and correct for the type of story you’re reading. This isn’t ‘Saint Seiya’ where they needed to have some arbitrary time limit every single fight to keep things interesting.
>> No. 165224
>>165223

That's how I feel. The main character wants his sister back, yes, but he's taking the long-term view. There's no need to rush things, his sister isn't going anywhere, so he can afford to take his time and do things right. Besides, it's Gensokyo. Things are rarely so straightforward.

Basically, it's a nice, relaxed story which I really like.
>> No. 165227
>>165224
We have a lot of relaxed stories, no?

I think a little more urgency would do this story well.
>> No. 165229
>>165227
I agree. I'm tired of those "meandering around in Gensokyo while the plot takes a backseat" kind of stories.
>> No. 165233
Shrug, I think for my view. It's not that he's meandering, and more being careful not to get killed off so close to his goal, while also not being able to let people who are in trouble alone due to his personality.
>> No. 165235
>>165221
>>165227
>>165229

I'm going to have to point out that he's doing almost everything possible at the moment. The Necronomicon which is what he is after is currently missing. The only lead he currently has to it is the incident in the village, which he's currently investigating. He now has another issue happening concurrently with his own goal, and he just went to ask Byakuren for advice.

He could probably be more proactive(which is probably what you are talking about) but I'm not seeing where urgency is needed nor where the plot is taken a backseat.
>> No. 165242
>>165235

As this anon pointed out, it's not as if we really know where the book is, at this point. We've got a lot of other things on our plate, and it's not like it'd be proper to just drop everything and search around for a thing that nobody is really sure of where it's at.

Also, the fact that we're going to go bug Nazrin is kind of moving the plot along, you know. Besides, there's nothing wrong with a bit of meandering. You don't often get the POV of a Necromancer, y'know? The writing's good, the quality's great, and it's free.

So uh, why complain?
>> No. 165245
>>165242

I thought this might happen.
I posted >>165221 (and only that post) not as a 'complaint', but as a suggestion specifically to the writer that he might maybe improve as a storyteller. I had no intention of starting a discussion.

It's just that I think that if you're going to have some kind of plot, even in a relaxed story, why not spend the little extra effort to make it have some more tension and interest to it? The story wouldn't lose anything.

Rest assured that if I plain didn't like the story, I would simply ignore it, not post walls of text pointing out its flaws.
>> No. 165246
>>165245
This. My only selfish complaint is the update speed.

Carry on.
>> No. 165247
>>165246
>My only selfish complaint is the update speed.
The same can be said to most of the stories here.
>> No. 165248
[X] Send off the jiang-shi…
-[X] Only the ones without a clear goal
[X] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[X] Around Gensokyo, in plain sight
[X] Try to get into Eientei to talk with Reisen
-[X] Try and get a hold of medical supplies that would help with restoring the jiang-shi

Maybe they could be integrated into society as night-shift workers. People won't ask questions if their streets are cleaned by the quiet and reliable people of the forest. All that needs to be done is cosmetic work on their bodies.

>>165235
To me, the story progression seems to read like a Dresden novel. The MC has a clear goal that he needs to accomplish, but he has no tangible way to do so. Rather than running around blindly hoping to get lucky the MC ends up helping people who need help, and as a result his goal gets that much closer to completion.
>> No. 165250
[x] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[x] Muenzuka.
--[x] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.

Stash the works in progress for later, then focus on our main goal.
>> No. 165251
[x] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[x] Muenzuka.
--[x] Ask Nazrin to find the Necronomicon, while you're there.
[x] Try to get into Eientei to talk with Reisen.

Let's keep the zombies for now until they can decide.
>> No. 165255
>>165229
you must not be reading the bulk of the stories on the site where it's mainly plotplotplotplot.

Taking a more long term approach would be more likely to work out well than rashly rushing forward and burning bridges.
>> No. 165257
>>165255
Name me the stories with this "plotplotplotplot" you speak of.
>> No. 165262
>>165257

One just finished in Forest the other day. It's a bit dark, but I enjoyed it. No Such Things As Fairytales is one example. For a while, Border had Renko's Adventure, but Hungry Youkai decided to take a break from that for a while so it's on indefinite hiatus. There are a few more, but you're definitely exaggerating a little bit.

But those are other stories, not this story. I quite enjoy this one. The renditions of the characters are really neat, and I'm interested in seeing where it goes. It probably has my favorite Byakuren, and definitely has my favorite Minamitsu. Yarr.
>> No. 165264
[x] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[x] Muenzuka

I'm not entirely sure about asking Nazrin; we're already going to be dropping in on her with all the jiang-shi. I do prefer not getting rid of them before they have at least a little time to think things over; that sort of regard seems to be a consistent trait so far.
>> No. 165267
>>165224
Yes. A lazy story is nice. Especially because Theater of Youth is dead. But that's not relevant right now.

[ ] Hide the jiang-shi in…
-[ ] Muenzuka
[ ] Head into town to talk to…
-[ ] Akyuu

I like this Akyuu so I vote for more Akyuu.
>> No. 165270
>>165255
Fair enough, I do have to agree. The pacing is just fine, no complaints here.

>>165267
What's it to ya? It's not like anyone actually cares enough to do something about it.
>> No. 165289
Quit worrying, it's fine any way you want to write it.
>> No. 165356
File 13623432416.jpg - (221.76KB , 850x1113 , life-is-never-easy.jpg ) [iqdb]
165356
“Please inform Nazrin, again, that she should stop leaving her half-eaten cheese in my room.”

“Shouldn’t you keep a tighter rope around your swabbie, Shou?”

“Nazrin is highly capable and-”

“Yeah, whatever. Tell that rat to hurry up and bring me that book she keeps promising me.”

“A book? You’re reading something, Minamitsu?”

“Don’t sound so surprised, Ichirin. I do things like that sometimes.”

“I will try to convey your messages. Please take care in my absence.” Byakuren bows to her friends and then walks down the hallway to where you stand. After a quick wave to the other girls, you follow Byakuren out of the temple building and into the courtyard.

The head nun announced her decision to escort you to Muenzuka, and the others accepted it without fuss. You can’t tell if it’s because they trust Byakuren implicitly or they don’t see you as a threat, but you’re glad they aren’t against the head nun spending the day with you again.

“Lady Hijiri, are you leaving?” But not everybody is so unsuspicious. With the sun shining brightly, dozens of Buddhists are doing their Buddhist things in the courtyard. Combat practice, meditation, gardening, standing directly in your path and harassing you – all the usual stuff, you bet.

Byakuren answers the plain, human monk with a smile. “Yes. I shall be visiting Muenzuka to tend the graves.”

“I see.” The man pointedly glares at you, the distrust in his eyes completely undisguised, before forcing a smile back on his face for Byakuren. “That is a rather large task for one person, and the road is not so safe. Shall I gather some of the other monks to assist you?”

“That is not necessary. There is no need to distract the others over this simple duty. I will be fine.”

“Very well, Lady Hijiri. Safe travels.” Byakuren’s calm dissuasion placates the monk somewhat, although you can feel the man watching you from behind your back as you walk past.

Nobody else stops what they’re doing to bother you, but you garner more than a few glances. After a nod to the spear-toting guards, the two of you are free from the prying eyes. A quick walk down and around places you at Myouren Temple’s cemetery, the beautiful plot of land cut into the trees.

“Hey!” you call out, “Let’s get going, we’re relocating!”

The jiang-shi respond to your cry immediately. Most of them emerge from the tree line, dropping from the branches or stumbling out from behind tree trunks. A few drop down from the sky, creating small craters where they land.

A hand springs out of the ground in front of you. You hear a gasp of surprise form Byakuren, and can see the nun reflexively prepare her magic. She releases it when the creative jiang-shi, the last of the dozen, crawls his way out of the shallow grave he dug.

You brush your face with your elbow to disguise your silent laughter from Byakuren. The way the jiang-shi are jittering, they all seem to find the joke funny as well.

Byakuren doesn’t look as pleased. “They are all free of that hermit’s control, then?” She asks as she slips her magic scroll back to whatever pocket she pulled it form.

“Probably. I haven’t checked for anything deep inside their minds, but the only control she had over Yoshika was the seal on her face. If Seiga is as consistent as she seems, than the others should be free as can be.”

“If that’s what you think. Ready to go?”

You should be worried about leading your mini-horde around in broad daylight, but Byakuren leads you directly away from the village. She shows no signs of taking to the air, instead casually strolling along the road.

The path you take leads straight into the infamous Forest of Magic, but you don’t feel afraid. With Byakuren and all the jiang-shi around, a few man-eating plants are not terrifying. Still, your entire group remains cautious. Byakuren quietly infuses herself with some black magic, some sort of physical enhancement for an emergency, you bet. With the nun keeping one hand on her scroll, you take your cue from her and lightly prepare yourself. The jiang-shi seem to follow your lead and don’t burst out into nonsensical chatter, instead following after the two of you with eyes alert.

Despite the preparation, nothing happens. Your group exits the forest without event, the tiled road shooting off into the distance.

Once everybody relaxes, Byakuren kicks off the conversation. “Speaking of Yoshika, where is she? I did not expect to see you two separated.”

“She went off to talk to Reimu with my sister.”

“How surprising.”

You don’t like the sound of her response. “What? What’s so strange?”

“You seemed to be…fondly attached to Yoshika. I did not expect you to release her from your sight.”

Byakuren is choosing her words carefully, her slow speech delivering an implicit judgment. “What’s with that tone? Is there something wrong with looking out for her?”

“Not at all. Although, some might consider your attraction rather unsettling.” Thank the lord Byakuren is nothing like Minamitsu. You don’t think you could deal with a dozen more undead boning jokes.

“Attraction? Geez, what is it with you people? I make sure she stays healthy. Why is that weird?”

“Healthy is not a term that most would ascribe to the walking dead.”

“I don’t see why not. These jiang-shi are all people, too. Treating them as less than human is just wrong. There are far more despicable people than these in the world.”

The nun laughs and plants a hand on your head, messing up your hair in good cheer. “You should take pride in your opinion, as few seem capable of sharing it. Your mind is open, a good trait for one pursuing enlightenment.”

That’s strange. Byakuren isn’t wrong – most people don’t take kindly to the idea that the corpses of their loved ones can be used as foot soldiers for entrepreneuring young necromancers. The strange part is her wording. “Don’t you think that way too? You aren’t out to destroy these jiang-shi.”

“Not exactly. I’m afraid my point-of-view is not nearly as broad as yours. I try to provide opportunities for all, human or youkai.” Byakuren crosses her arms under her chest and glances backwards at the mob of jiang-shit. “These unfortunate souls are but new lives, new youkai that deserve a chance to live. I…I cannot see them as truly human. I am not so strong as to imagine a human that can return from death as themselves.”

Some might argue with what Byakuren said, but you understand her meaning. Ghost, spirits, revenants, wraiths – are they human or not? You like to think so, but having a ‘human’ soul might not make one human. It’s a blurry, philosophical line. “Well, I don’t think your view is bad. It’s probably better than mine. I see monsters and fear them. You can accept everybody, no matter what they’re inclined to do. That way of thinking is accepting in a way I’ll never reach.”

Byakuren laughs again, but it isn’t cheerful. Her melancholic laugh is full of bitterness, the kind you might utter while waist-deep in corpses. “You should not raise me up on such a pedestal. These thoughts of mine are not even my own. They are borrowed ideals, nothing more.”

“Your brother’s, right? Myouren?”

“That is correct.”

The two of you walk in silence for a dozen steps, letting the chatter of the jiang-shi wash over you.

It makes you angry. Just walking, thinking about Byakuren’s words. You’re seriously pissed. “So what? What’s wrong with trying to live as your brother would have wished?”

Byakuren’s response is sharp. “It turns me into nothing more than a fake. A hypocrite, as some have taken to calling me. I imagine that they are not wrong. How am I supposed to teach what I do not feel? Guide towards what I cannot see? I do them all an injustice.”

“Does that matter? I don’t think it does. You’re a kind, helpful person. You aren’t selfish at all. Devoting your life to another person’s dreams? I wish I could be that strong.”

“You are, are you not? You seek power not for yourself but for your sister.”

It’s your turn to laugh. “Nah, that isn’t true. It’s for me. How can it not be? I’m the one who wants to give her a new life, a life that isn’t attached to me.”

You’ve thought about it a lot, over the years. Even before your sister’s murder, you knew you were the burden preventing your sister from reaching her potential. “Sis would be a great mom, you know? She’s only ever wanted the best for me, a life free of poverty and toxic parents. She would be happy if I just settled down and lived the life I’m lucky to have. I’m the one that continues to worry her by adventuring around, pursuing all these dangers. I want to do right for her, give her the barest minimum of what she gave me. That’s only my own happiness, not hers.”

“Your view is just distorted, isn’t it? Most any person would see your goal and praise you. Happiness for yourself and your sister after a life of hard work is respectable, admirable. They would see those that you help along the way and think you a saint.”

“A saint? Hah, no way. Maybe at one point in my life.” A point before you dived deep into the darkness, when you still basked in the light of innocence or righteousness. “But not anymore. A saint doesn’t knife a sleeping man in that back just to take over his workshop. A real saint would be taking in anybody, even strangers appearing in the night, and showing them a proper way to live.”

“Attempting to turn it back around once more?” Byakuren rubs her forehead as she walks. “Don’t. You need to look far away from me to find your proposed saint. How would you consider a woman that let innocent men die to ingratiate herself with youkai? Then sacrifice that youkai all for the sake of learning a spell from another? It would take a true demon to do worse than I. No, saint is not the title for me, no matter what others might perceive. My charities are just a way to survive, a mask for the self.”

You watch the scenery slowly pass you by. The roughly cut stone under your feet form a straight road. The trees on either side form a corridor, creating a strange path for you to walk. The few red flowers are lonely amid the waves of grass. A feeling of separation, of isolation, pervades the road you walk. Tranquil could be another word for it, depending on one’s state of mind.

“We’re really pathetic, huh?”

“Yes, we are.”

The giggling starts with Byakuren, drawing a few chuckles from you. Once Byakuren starts laughing, you follow along. It isn’t really funny, but laughter is contagious.

After the brief bout of lunacy, Byakuren gestures towards the path with her hand. “Do you know why this is called the Road of Reconsideration?”

“Enlighten me, o wise one.”

The nun lightly bats your head before continuing. “They say the poison from the red spider lilies can give those with suicidal thoughts the will to live on. It is something of a myth, but there is no doubt that this place, more so than others in Gensokyo, is one of reflection. If you investigate, you might very well find that the flowers and the weakness of the border give this road its own kind of magic.”

You stare at the red flower innocently waving in the wind. Magic flowers? Not impossible, all things considered. Magic road? Sure, why not. “That’s great. Whenever I feel like moping, I’ll be sure to come back this way.”

“Take heed if you do. Thoughtful humans along this path have made more than one snack for the predatory youkai.”

“I thought you said that nobody goes down this way.”

“Few from the Human Village, indeed. However, this area is a kind of nexus between worlds. Those outsiders lost in their emotions might very well wander in by accident and end up a quick meal.”

“So this is another place I could have gotten in without a hassle, huh? I just don’t get it. Can’t you people make the entrances to Gensokyo more obvious?”

“I shall bring it up at the next Convention for Border and Immigration Management.”

“You have those?”

“No.”
>> No. 165358
File 13623434823.jpg - (890.76KB , 800x1319 , never-trust-a-rat.jpg ) [iqdb]
165358
Your group reaches the end of the road soon enough.

It’s a cemetery, no doubt about it. Gravestones litter the open field, consistent with the ones at the temple’s cemetery. Unlike at Myouren cemetery, the graves aren’t as structured. Markers are interwoven with large trees peppered with un-blossomed buds. Another anomaly is the small cabin standing at the edge of the cemetery.

Much like the road leading up to it, Muenzuka contains an aura of tranquility. There’s an otherworldly feel that the rest of Gensokyo, for all its idiosyncrasies, does not have. A strange sense of closeness is here, but to what is uncertain. You can feel death in the air much more clearly than at your run-of-the-mill graveyard, at least. A nexus between worlds, Byakuren said. Muenzuka feels similar enough to Stonehenge or other areas of power, in your opinion, although every magical place has its peculiarities.

“Well, time to take care of business. Okay everybody, its question time! Gather around!” Byakuren floats away, making room for the jiang-shi to encircle you.

With the jiang-shi’s undivided attention, you start without any fluff. “Does anybody here, other than Mr. One-Arm, have any idea of what they want to do in the future?”

General head shaking or negative groans, confused stares and unsure repositioning answer you.

About what you expected. Such a general question is tough to answer, but the complete bemusement by some tells you they aren’t ready to answer.

“Alright, that’s fine. You all can stay here until you figure things out. Don’t eat things in the cemetery, but the trees and animals in the forest around here are fair game. Make sure to stick together so the wild youkai don’t bother you. Also, listen to the mouse youkai that lives here, okay?” You lay out a set of basic rules, simple enough that the jiang-shi should have no trouble understanding. Whether they listen or not is up to them, but you get the feeling they won’t be disobeying your orders anytime soon.

With nothing else to say, you let the jiang-shi wander off as they like. They drift away in twos and threes, doing whatever it is they do to waste time.

One of them doesn’t leave right away. It’s the blonde, one-armed jiang-shi. Looking at him again, you aren’t sure how old his body is. For somebody with presumable Western heritage, he isn’t tall, coming up to your nose or so. Just like Yoshika, actually. Granted, you don’t know how old Yoshika’s body is meant to be either, but you wouldn’t be surprised if this blonde guy has a child or teenager’s body.

Mr. Blonde bows as much as he is able. “Thank you for the assistance…Master.”

That word worries you. “Oh no, don’t go starting that. You’re free to do what you like. You aren’t indebted to me.”

He takes a second to think, but his retort lacks any hesitation once begun. “Then I’m free to call you what I like.”

“Why would you want to do that?”

“It is a good deal for me, isn’t it? You want us to be selfish. I can selfishly choose to follow you. Yoshika looks better than when our former master first brought me back.”

Yeah, he’s an intelligent one. He’s a good indicator of what these jiang-shi are capable of. Human minds, human souls, superhuman bodies.

“Good point, I guess.” You sigh on the inside. Hopefully he doesn’t have a rebellious attitude along with his smarts. “Keep the others in line until they know what they want, okay?”

“Sure.” The one-armed blonde agrees and starts to wander off, his business taken care of.

Uh, you should probably do something about that. “Hold up, one more thing. What’s your name?”

The blonde stops and tilts his head. “…I don’t know.”

Memory loss? Never given one in life? “Got anything in mind I can call you, then?”

“…How about Dio?”

That name is a little off, you think, but you don’t know why. It sounds like the kind of name that implies one thing, but actually means something else entirely. You aren’t going to complain about his choice in name, though – you don’t have the right, considering your own. “Okay, Dio, watch yourself.”

Dio nods and floats off, quick to join with another pair of jiang-shi as they set off into the forest.

Just as soon as the jiang-shi leave you alone, Byakuren drops back down in front of you. “Shall we go see Nazrin now?”

The two of you head over to the little house on the edge of Muenzuka. The cabin is reminiscent of the wild frontier, with its log base and stone chimney jutting out.

Before Byakuren can knock on the door, it slams open. A short girl is standing in the doorway, two crooked iron rods in hand. She’s grey; shoes, skirt, blouse, hair, ears, tail, all basically the same color. She’s definitely the mouse youkai.

Nazrin’s voice, a lot lower than what you would expect from a mouse, cries out in excitement. “What? Oh, Byakuren, you shouldn’t have! Sic ‘em!”

Sic who? What is she- Rats!

“Whoa! This is not okay!” You scream and kick out with your foot, sending a spray of grey rodents flying into the side of the house. Still more of the chattering vermin are pouring out of the door, charging towards you.

“Nazrin, he is not food.”

“Really? That’s a bummer.” You think you hear the snap of fingers, the noise signaling the end of the vermin tide. The rats – mice, you suppose, although they’re definitely on the large size – scamper off. A few stick around, sitting on top of Nazrin’s shoulders and against the wall of the house, intently staring at you.

If those tailed pests make another move, you’ll make them your pets, preferably exploding ones.

Damn rodents. None of them so much as took a bite of you, but that was not pleasant. “You know, I’m seriously reconsidering asking this little psycho for help.”

Nazrin rolls her eyes. “Aw, come on, that was just a little joke. Don’t be a scaredy cat.”

“Scared? Who would be scared by a bunch of rodents?” The need to defend your manly pride forces the words out of your mouth.

The little mouse girl raises an eyebrow. “You brought a tough one today, Byakuren. I hope he’s got a good reason to be here.”

“It’s good to see you Nazrin. He would like to find a certain book.” The nun gets straight to business, passing the baton back to you.

Nazrin looks up at you. Oh, right, she’s waiting for details.

It’s easy. Just a name. It’s so simple to say.

Nazrin and Byakuren are both staring at you, expecting. You’re already here, already decided to get this supposed treasure hunter extraordinaire’s help.

But you can’t spit it out. She’s an unknown variable. Who is the crazy mouse? You can’t trust her at all. Telling her would be a mistake. She’ll use the information against you. She’ll sell it to someone, or lay a trap herself, or take the tome and use the information inside to-

Byakuren’s hand strokes your back, snapping you out of your thoughts. “The Necronomicon. It’s a magical tome.” You swallow after that short sentence, the unease settling in your stomach.

Whatever her perceived faults, Byakuren is trustworthy enough. If she trusts Nazrin, then that should be good enough for you. Normal humans trust others for far less. This won’t backfire. It won’t.

“A magic book, huh? It’d be something that someone is holding on to. I might have problems depending on who has it. Have you already checked out the libraries?”

The mouse youkai is surprisingly business-like. That’s good. You can deal with that. “It was stolen from one the stores in the village, and then it disappeared. I think someone was murdered for it.”

“That’s a big deal. Why haven’t you gone to Reimu or someone about this?”

“Do you know what is inside the Necronomicon?”

The mouse girl rubs one ear absently. “No, and I don’t think I care to, given how sketchy this all seems. Normally, I wouldn’t lend my ear to the guy depositing a bunch of zombies around my home.”

“You don’t own the-” You begin, but manage to stop yourself. That is not the way to get the mouse’s help. “Uh, they won’t bother you. In fact, they should listen to whatever you say and if they don’t then you have every right to defend yourself.”

“You bet. I’ll rip them apart if they try something unpleasant.” Nazrin stretches and picks up her crooked iron rods. “I don’t know about this business.”

“Nazrin, I-” Byakuren takes a step forward but is cutoff by the mouse girl.

“Och, save your sermon, Byakuren. I get it. You’re really endorsing this guy.” The mouse closes the door to her house and walks up to you. She’s barely chest height, but she has the presence of someone much larger when she stares up defiantly at you. “What’s this book smell like?”

“Smell? Uh, a dusty old tome, maybe?”

“Come on, give me something to work with here. Most of my mice can’t read. Feelings, emotions, things that make it different.”

That…makes sense? It actually doesn’t, but Nazrin seems to know what she’s talking about. “Death, I guess. Demons, the limits of humanity, crazy space monsters from the beyond.”

Nazrin’s nose twitches when she nods. “Interesting book you’re looking for. I’ll see what I can do.”

Is that it? “That was easier than expected.”

Nazrin shrugs. “What? You expected me to reject you with Byakuren here vouching for you?”

The nun is a powerful force indeed. “Thanks for the help. I’d appreciate if word about this doesn’t spread.”

“Are you trying to insult me? I’m a professional. If I accept the job I’ll keep things quiet. Privacy and efficiency, that’s my guarantee.” A wave of those crooked iron rods summons the mouse horde back to Nazrin. Dozens of rodents, shades of pure white to pure black and over fifty shades of grey line up in neat rows on the grass. “I’ll get back to you once I find something, or in a few days if I don’t. You’re staying at the temple?”

“That’s right, although I might be back here to check up on the jiang-shi every now and again.”

“Yeah, okay. If you don’t touch my cheese or other treasures, you’re welcome to some of my food or blankets or something. The mice will point out what’s off-limits.”

You blink in surprise. “That’s really gracious of you.”

The mouse girl shrugs and marches off, battalion of mice at her heels. “Byakuren’s word means a fair bit. See you two later, then.”

“And that is that. You can trust Nazrin to put in her full effort.” Byakuren stretches and begins to pace. “What do you wish to do now?”

“You’re not going back to the temple?” You ask, somewhat hesitant. “That monk didn’t seem to like you giving me anything.”

“They do not require my presence for every action. Besides, I shall be busy with festival preparations soon. I plan on enjoying the time I can take.”

Great. With that little meeting off your checklist, mostly without incident, you have a great feeling for the rest of this day.

You’re still conflicted over what you have to do. It’s like a dozen of little demons, all trying to get you to pursue their fetishes. It makes your life tough sometimes.

Reisen is the first thing to pop into your mind. That dejected bunny shuffling home left an impression on you. You’re annoyed you haven’t had a serious conversation with her given she was the sole witness to the murdered man’s death, but you’re also worried for her mental health. Eientei itself also is a mystery you’d like to unravel, even if there are immortals and aliens involved.

Then your mind wanders to your sister and Yoshika. You wonder how that worked out. You trust that your sister is able to avoid a Hakurei-patented beating, but something might be lost in the zombie translation. More to the point, Reimu was not a happy camper when you last saw her. Figuring out what else Reimu might have found could give you the leads you need. You might even avoid any bruises if you’re careful.

Someone who wouldn’t flip out would be Akyuu. The little archivist is pleasant to talk to, and you still owe her a story. More than that, she deserves an update and, even more importantly, she could help with the investigation. Maybe there’s a second copy of the Necronomicon around that she knows about? Not a likely chance, but you’ll never know without asking.

Still, you’ve set Nazrin on the task. Continuing to investigate yourself might be counter-productive. Your time might be better spent working on what only you can, like fixing up the jiang-shi. The longer you keep them around, the more they’ll continue to decay. Sure, they’ve already been that way for a good while, but a little restoration wouldn’t hurt. Besides, if push comes to shove and you need them for something, it’d be better to have them as close to one-hundred percent as possible.

In thinking about dead things, the murdered man is still a mystery. Was he even the book thief? Was he killed through dark, possibly necromantic, magic like you suspect? Countless questions can still be answered if you drag his spirit back. Yet, even if you get ahold of an anchor like his bones, it would be a trial. The more time passes, the further away a spirit gets from the world of the living. There’s a reason that there are barely any real spirit mediums left in the magical dearth of the modern world.

Decisions, decisions.

[ ] Checkout Eientei and look for Reisen
[ ] Find Reimu and listen to what she’s found
[ ] Go have a follow-up talk with Akyuu
[ ] Stick around and work on the jiang-shi
[ ] Try to find the murdered man’s body
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Good points all around, everybody. I appreciate the discussion and feedback, no matter what others think about your opinion.

Apologies for the (very) late update (again), but I’ve been sick and have been preparing for interviews and stuff. I promise you (like many a faggot before me) that I shall continue my stories as long as there’s one voter (unless I die, because I don’t think there’s good internet in the afterlife) who has an interest. I’m writing for myself as much as for you all.

Also, this might be the last time this damnable batch of votes crops up. So for all you people who keep creating a minority majority in opposition to the bandwagoned sub-votes, you better step it up.

>Complaining
Complaining annoys me, but I haven’t seen much in these threads. All of your comments help me understand where I need to improve. Even hate-messages can be somewhat enlightening.

>Story focus
The plot-driven versus slice-of-life debate will never end. Some people enjoy one more than another. One of the things I like about this site is how there are both kinds of stories readily available. Can’t please everybody all the time, but I can damn well try. I think they both have their place within a single story.

>Update speed
Fuck me. The original goal of daily, short updates has long since jumped off the bridge in despair. I’ll try practicing short but sweet writing again in my next story, whenever that may be.

>Characters
I’m glad people appreciate my characterization. Whenever I look at any creative work, the characters have always been my biggest draw. Sure, plot, morals, gameplay, art, motifs, whatever are also important, but I almost always read/watch/play things for the characters. The jury is out whether that interest translates into my writing, but I can hope.

Well, that’s about all I got for general responses. Spoilered for my meta-observations and rambling that might accidentally foretell the future of the story.


Beware: Shitty write-fag opinions below.

Don’t worry; I’m just as terrible at explaining my thoughts as the worst of you. I like to talk about writing in general, and think that getting into the head of the writer helps the reader on some level.

>Meandering
It serves a few purposes storytelling-wise, some of which I’ve highlighted before (feel for my particular setting, characterization, gauging Anon, etc.)

However, these are in-story reasons as well. >>165221 points out one way to analyze the characters. A person might very well sprint towards the finish-line, or someone might always be looking to reclaim their former life.

Yet, this is only one way of looking at it. Consider someone who is young and begins working towards a goal, but grows overtime. They might ‘lose sight’ of their goal or, alternatively, gain new perspective on what is really important in life. What drives a person might exhaust itself or possibly be replaced by something else.

>Main motivations
What are the characters’ main motivations? Are they always what the characters claim them to be? Do two characters share the same motivation? Do you understand their true motivations, or are you conveniently selecting what ‘should be’ their motivation based on your knowledge of fiction?

Managing expectations is one of the hardest things a writer has to account for, I think. Trying to get readers interested, getting them to care, letting them catch the hints for future events, etc. When done poorly, it just becomes a big letdown for everybody because the writer failed to get the correct message to the reader.

>Urgency and goals
Ultimately, I see this as expectation on the reader’s part (influenced by my hints and suggestions which need to be worked on). We can read into a plot, see a goal, and keep it in the forefront of our minds. But we haven’t been working for years at it. We haven’t experienced the reality as the characters have. We’ll empathize with the characters but sometimes, we miss the mark. As an outside viewer, we might imagine taking the fast route (‘Just confess your love already!’) but the characters might view the situation differently (‘I have to get to know her more, first.’)

And yes, sometimes a character is poorly written and holding the idiot ball. No writer should claim perfection there.

>Urgency, part two
If the, er, when the characters, uh, in the course of human events…There’ll be urgency when the situation gets urgent. The situation will be getting urgent. Things can’t go slowly, perfectly, forever (although, I imagine the feeling of slowness might have something to do with the nature of periodic updates, which is again another kind of expectation that is difficult to handle – updating faster is a good start, I suppose).

>Themes
Rounding out my rambling, one of the themes I’m shooting for in this story is ‘acceptance,’ which should permeate some of the events and dialogue. I mean, come on, it’s a story about dead things, not dead things, and things that should be dead. How can this not be a theme?


>> No. 165359
[x] Go have a follow-up talk with Akyuu

I think it's a good choice to wait for Yoshika to get back and then maybe do a trip to eientei once the MC has some backup.

Though I was tempted to write in "[x] Ask Byakuren for a date" but decided against it.
>> No. 165360
[X] Checkout Eientei and look for Reisen
>> No. 165361
[x] Find Reimu and listen to what she’s found
I actually just want to find Yoshika again. Maybe vindicate all the corpse-boning jokes in the future?

I kid.
>> No. 165362
[ ] Go have a follow-up talk with Akyuu

What? A childish Akyuu is refreshing.
>> No. 165363
[x] Find Reimu and listen to what she’s found
Honestly, I just really find this stories Reimu to be interesting.
>> No. 165364
[x] Checkout Eientei and look for Reisen

Kinda worried about the bunny.
>> No. 165365
[x] Checkout Eientei and look for Reisen

At the very least we should see how she is doing.
>> No. 165366
[x] Checkout Eientei and look for Reisen.

Show some love for the poor Lunar bunny. After all, she's already drowning in the depths of unhappiness in two stories already.
>> No. 165367
[x] Checkout Eientei and look for Reisen

This option went ignored 3 times in a row. If it keeps popping up, it is for a reason. Besides, this would help the search in a different way
>> No. 165368
[x] Find Reimu and listen to what she’s found

>“…How about Dio?”
Mad Father reference?
>> No. 165369
>>165368

I keep think "Dio Brando" and the thought of that scares me.
>> No. 165370
>>165369
What no love for the MIGHTY DIO?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_James_Dio
>> No. 165371
>>165370
Wrong Dio mate.
I'm thinking of the vampire with the knives and hax powers.
>> No. 165372
[x] Checkout Eientei and look for Reisen.

Byakuren doesn't need to spend a whole afternoon looking our MC fixing the zombies
>> No. 165374
>>165366
I know there's Favors Owed, a typical black comedy piece but what's the other?

If only all this persistence actually availed against Kaguya or Eirin
>> No. 165384
Dio reminded me of Odio from Live-A-Live.

That's not a good thing (Odio means hatred).

Anyway, I put it through google translate, and Dio is spanish for either 'He' or 'gave', depending if the letter D is capatilized or not.
>> No. 165385
>>165384

Spanishfag here, 'dio' is just the third person past simple conjugation of the verb 'dar', which means 'to give'. If by 'He' you mean God, then you're probably searching for 'Dios', with an 's' at the end.
>> No. 165386
Isn’t Dio also Spanish for ‘god’? Although I admit the blondness worried me, he’s shaped like a kid or a teenager, not a Jojo-esque muscleman. I think we’re safe.

[X] Normally I’d say put off the bunny trip in favor of Reimu and the murder and all, but with Byakuren tagging along I think we might have more success. She seems pretty well-liked by everybody.
>> No. 165388
>>165386
That'd be Dios but you were close enough: Dio is italian for 'God'
>> No. 165391
>>165374

I actually meant this one as the second one.
>> No. 165392
[X] Send Byakuren to checkout Eientei and look for Reisen
[X] Try to find the murdered man’s body

The greatest wizards know when to delegate, and this way Byakuren can work her calming Buddhist magic on Reisen while we look for the body. A calm Reisen is more likely to be forthcoming with information.
>> No. 165407
[x] Stick around and work on the jiang-shi
>> No. 165435
[X] Send Byakuren to checkout Eientei and look for Reisen 
[X] Try to find the murdered man’s body 
>> No. 165437
>>165392
you do know the real reasons why people are voting to go to Eientei right? That means it's not likely to win.
>> No. 165438
>>165437
Feel like sharing with the rest of the class?
>> No. 165452
>>165438
Reisen-aimed waifufaggotry.

This sort of thing happens whenever a story gives her a chance of a nice focus: Her fans coming out of the woodwork and making a mess out of things. I say make a mess because they have the nasty habit of voting for whatever gets the most Reisen time, not what's best for the story. It sometimes gets to the point of where their actions threaten to derail things or cause "failures" in the story's goals.

In short the "Send Byakuren to eientei" vote isn't likely to win as it doesn't help the fans get their waifu.
>> No. 165456
>>165452
I say make a mess because they have the nasty habit of voting for whatever gets the most [touhou] time, not what's best for the story.

Isn't that everyone?
>> No. 165458
>>165456
Please use sage when making non-vote posts.
>> No. 165460
>>165458
no
>> No. 165463
>>165456
Not really, most have the decency to keep the story in mind while going after their waifu.
>> No. 165467
Ah, bunnygirls.
>> No. 165493
File 136268322833.jpg - (85.62KB , 600x729 , is-it-all-too-late.jpg ) [iqdb]
165493
The walk back on the Road of Reconsideration and out of the Forest of Magic is pleasant. Instead of profound conversation, the two of you chat about nothing particularly heavy. It’s mostly Byakuren informing you of events and people in Gensokyo. Walking through the forest is another tense time, but everything is lax while walking through the fields of Gensokyo.

Somehow, you’ve been led into a conversation on clothes. "Oh come on, this jacket isn’t that bad!”

“It is a fine garment, I do not disagree. However, wearing it will only unsettle those you meet. Do you not care for what I gave you?”

“Your threads weren’t bad, but I’m not much for Buddhist colors. I bought some more clothes in the village, so that should be fine, right?”

“I suppose it will do.”

You thrust your finger at the nun. “Besides, how is my jacket any different from your get-up?”

“Excuse me?”

“I don’t see you walking around in Buddhist robes. I think my jacket is way more modest that that lacy black-white dress you’re wearing!”

“My clothes are nowhere near as suspicious as yours.” Byakuren narrows her eyes as you, but you don’t back down.

“You think? From my point of view, you’re just trying to draw every guy’s gaze.”

“Excuse me?”

“The way that you thrust your chest out is- Hgurk!”

Can’t….

breathe…

Ohthankgodpreciousair. Whew. That was dangerous. Man, your throat is kind of sore now. This woman had a ridiculous headlock. That is not appropriate behavior for an older sister!

You try to avoid ticking off Byakuren any more during your travel. The two of you skirt the edge of the village and continue on towards the Bamboo Forest of the Lost.

You’ve walked across the world, so it doesn’t bother you, but it does make you wonder. “Doesn’t it annoy you to walk everywhere with me?”

The nun chuckles and shakes her head. “We must all walk the path. Rushing along without experiencing the world around you is a fool’s pace.”

It sounds like she’s avoiding the question. Maybe she’s just being polite out of respect for your inabilities. “Well, I still think if we flew we could get more done.”

“True. Go, fly.”

Now she’s just mocking you. “Uh, I can’t do that, unless you want to share your magical talents.”

She stops walking and taps her fingers together. Her question is full of saccharine tones. “You wish me to teach you to fly?”

It’s a trap. You know it – there’s no way she can make that sweet face if she was pure of heart. Still, you can’t ignore the possibility. “Can you?”

“Of course. Up you go!” What does she-

“W-Wa-aaaaaah!” Damn it! The magically-enhanced woman moved on you before you could react, her hands grabbing your waist and tossing you up. And up. And up.

Fuck this shit. You’ve had it up to here with the crazies. And the jokes and the taunting and this whole world and everything else in this bloody-

You’re falling now.

Shit. Alright, there’s a method to this madness. Has to be. Fly! Go! Body, stay in the air!

Craaaaaap.

You fish into your pocket and throw the bone dust towards the ground. Then you hurry and throw your magic at it, causing sticky sludge-like webbing to form midair.

You plow into it, curling into a ball as you plummet towards the ground. The gooey web arrests most of your motion, letting you hit the ground with a painful thump. You tumble off the rest of your fall and come to a stop at the nun’s feet.

Byakuren looks down at you and smiles. “In case you were unclear, flying typically involves not falling.”

“I got that!” You shout at her. Instead of jumping to your feet in anger, you just let the emotions seep out of you and into the ground. “Crazy woman, what were you expecting from this?”

“I see this is a more difficult hurdle than I anticipated. I will need to think upon this.” The nun laughs. At least she’s enjoying herself, but you really don’t appreciate it.

“That wasn’t how you learned to fly, was it?”

“In part. A demon I asked pushed me off a cliff.” The nun easily pulls you to your feet with her unnatural strength. “She was not, at the time, the most helpful of teachers.”

“Does anybody in this crazy place do things the normal way?” Sometimes you wish you were surrounded by normal people that don’t launch their friends into the air, but that’ll never happen.

Magic users are not defined by the logic and rationality that pervades the modern world. The stronger one believes in science and natural laws, the less likely they will cast strong magic. The crazies, the ones who expect the world to follow their own rules, are the ones causing explosions with their pinky fingers.

“In all seriousness,” Byakuren continues, “give me a few days to consider your special condition and I will see if I can help with your flight.”

The two of you venture into the bamboo forest without slowing down. You keep the idea of Eientei in front of you as you walk, but just in case, you keep one step behind Byakuren.

You wonder if Reisen is doing well. She was composed when she left Mokou’s home yesterday, if a bit downcast. Grilling her on her experience shouldn’t dredge up anything horrible for her, you hope.

“Targets sighted!”

You recognize that voice. Scanning the tall bamboo shoots surrounding the path, you notice the small camouflaged platform a few meters above you. Sure enough, the small blue-haired rabbit that had snuck into Mokou’s home is sitting up there.

“I see them! What’s the plan?” Her companion, the blonde rabbit, is nowhere to be seen. Wherever she’s hiding, she has done a much better job.

Byakuren is looking around curiously, not particularly worried. “Get ‘em, Koromo! Plan ‘Bombard the Womanizer for the Safety of All Kin’ is a go!” That changes when the cabbages start flying.

Vegetables of all sorts are flying at you. You raise your arms to cover your head, warding the projectiles off as best you can. They’re just normal vegetables, but-

You cough and wipe your face after a particularly soggy head of lettuce hits you.

Yeah. Thinking today would be a good day was a mistake.

You point out the blue-haired rabbit above you to Byakuren. The nun, equally annoyed by the attack, nods her head and raises a hand. With your mage sight, you can see her gather a ball of dark energy in hand.

That might not end well. You reach over and lower Byakuren’s hand. You’re all for violence, but you want to avoid escalating the situation. If things get out of hand, you’d rather not have a pair of angry immortals and a horde of angry rabbits on your tail.

“Byakuren, how do you feel about wild rabbit?” You shout, none too discretely.

The nun catches on immediately. “Raw rabbit is passable, but when cooked well can be quite delicious.”

“I don’t know, I’ve heard that raw rabbit is rather tasty. Yoshika seems to think highly of-”

“Noooo! Don’t eat me!” There she is. The little blonde bunny leaps into the air and evacuates her hiding spot, a row of inconspicuous bushes. She’s fast, disappearing into the bamboo in a few seconds.

That really didn’t take much.

The blue-haired rabbit above you leans over her platform and shouts down at her friend. “Wait Koromo! Don’t abandon post! The zombie isn’t even here!”

You casually stroll over and reach into your jacket. A nice radial bone finds its way into your hands. Infusing the bone with your sickly green magic, you grin and take a swing at a few shoots of bamboo. The sharpened bone blade slices straight through.

The rabbit starts screaming as she falls. You step out of the way while Byakuren steps forward. The nun swats the falling platform to the side and deftly snatches the rabbit out of the air. “How do you fare this day?”

At least the blue-haired bunny has the dignity to look sheepish. “Eh-heh…” She kicks her feet a bit, but quickly gives up on escaping Byakuren’s grip. “Not bad. Uh, so about all this…”

You shrug and twirl your bone blade. “I’ve never been to Eientei before. Helping me find a certain purple-haired sales bunny might make me forget any unpleasant accidents before I meet someone important.”

“Fine…” Left with no choice, the blue-haired rabbit girl readily agrees.

You revert the bone to its regular form and place it back into your jacket while you walk with Byakuren. The two of you follow the waist-high rabbit girl. She’s wearing a yellow sweat jacket and blue skirt, bereft of any old-school military helmet today. Over her shoulder is a bag full of vegetables, and tied around her waist is a pair of boxing gloves.

“So, what’s your name, anyway?” You ask, curious to her identity beyond a silly code name.

“Bunny.”

No. No. Just no. “Seriously?”

“Yeah. Got a problem with it?” The rabbit girl hops along the path backwards, staring you in the eyes.

“It is a very apt name,” Byakuren concedes. You figure that’s about the nicest thing that could be said.

After only a minute of following Bunny, Eientei looms before you. A low wall separates the compound from the bamboo forest around it. Just inside the wall is plenty of open courtyard space, where there are countless bunnies scurrying about. Some of them look like they’re working, carrying boxes or mixing cauldrons, while others laze about, napping in the grass. There are actual rabbits mixed in with the little girls as well.

Your blue-haired guide hands off her bag to one of her peers and asks for directions. After a bit of whispering, Bunny leads you around the mansion, kicking aside the rabbits that don’t get out of the way. On the other side of the building from where you entered, Bunny heads towards a door.

Before you can even step up onto the porch, your group is stopped. A blue-haired rabbit blocks your path, but she seems like the exact opposite of your guide. Where Bunny is short, this new rabbit is as tall as you. She has long hair while Bunny’s is short. Compared to your casually dressed guide, the rabbit girl blocking your path is wearing a fancy looking blue vest and red skirt.

Given how the new rabbit looks pissed and Bunny has on a grin, you definitely think they’re complete opposites.

“Out of the way! I’ve got a few V.I.P.s here.”

Your short guide tries to hop up onto the porch, but is physically pushed back by the other rabbit girl. “That’s against regulation and you know it.”

“Relax Kuro, it’ll be fine. I’ll be keeping a close eye on them so if we can just-”

The well-dressed rabbit, Kuro, snorts. “You Earth rabbits cannot be relied upon. You’d sooner drop them in the Doctor’s experiments than guide them through the halls. Besides, these are our quarters! Take them to your own unkempt rooms.”

“But they’re looking for Reisen, see, and I know she just wandered over here. So unless you want to be a doll and get her for me…?”

“Fine. Stay here.” Kuro turns around and stomps off into the mansion, slamming the door behind her. You assume she’s one of the lunar rabbits. Mokou was right. They’re noticeably different from their earthen peers.

Bunny steps up onto the porch and waves to you. “Chance! Let’s get going.”

The door to the building opens immediately. Kuro lunges out onto the porch and tries to grab her shorter peer. “You damn Earthling! I knew it!”

Bunny easily dives to the side. “Wah! Whisky tango alpha foxtrot! The asteroid has hit the pool!”

“Shut up! We don’t talk like that!”

“Floppy ears dance maneuver! Hit ‘er with the first harmonic LCM!” A red boxing glove slams into Kuro’s face. It falls to the ground, Kuro looking all the more enraged. “Negative, countermeasure ineffective! Subroutine omega-zeta! Go, go, go!”

“I’m going to pound you like a rice cake you annoying runt!”

Bunny takes off at surprising speed along the side of the mansion. Kuro shouts, her hair turning red as she jumps after her counterpart. Bunny turns around mid-hop and winks at you before slipping on her remaining boxing glove, juking to the side and disappearing around the corner of the mansion.

You stand around lamely until Byakuren taps you on the shoulder. “Well then, I believe this is our opportunity.”

“Yeah. These rabbits sure are annoying.”

“Quite.”

For being inhabited by aliens, Eientei seems as normal as any other over-sized Japanese mansion you’ve been in. It feels exactly like an old, historical home, from the decorations to the ridiculous amount of rooms.

A loud voice leads you through the hallways, until you come across three rabbits. Reisen is standing on one side of the hall, directing two other lunar rabbits. “Be careful with that crate! It’s our only batch for the rest of the week.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“We got it, Reisen, we aren’t dumb.”

“Don’t let anybody stop you. If Tewi tries something, scare off with Master’s name. I think she’s still smarting after her last lecture, so it should work.”

“We can handle it, Reisen.” The two other rabbits carrying the crate walk away, leaving Reisen standing by herself.

That’s great for you. “Reisen!”

The rabbit jumps when you call her name. “Huh? Oh, it’s you. What are you doing back here?”

“A kind rabbit showed us in.”

Reisen accepts your explanation without comment. “Byakuren’s here too? How are you doing?”

“I am well, Reisen. What about you?”

“Me? I doing great, I guess. Things are as hectic as ever, but nothing’s gone catastrophically wrong yet, today.” She seems happy. A bit stressed when dealing with her colleagues, but you don’t see any signs of trouble in the rabbit’s demeanor.

It’s strange. How can she be this blithe after yesterday’s events? “You’re really doing well?” You ask.

Reisen raises an eyebrow, her ears wiggling. “Of course I am. I think I’d be doing a lot better if you helped with my quota and decided to buy this cream. It’ll give you the vigor of someone five years younger!”

You and Byakuren share a look. The nun looks just as worried as you. “Uh, no thanks. So you’re really fine, after everything that’s happened?”

“Why are you so worried about this? I don’t see why I wouldn’t be.”

Byakuren takes a step forward. “Reisen, do you still remember what occurred yesterday?”

“Yesterday?” The purple-haired rabbit taps her fingers on her hip. “Not really. I guess it was just a normal, forgettable day.”

“You…forgot?” Byakuren sounds incredulous. You don’t blame her. What kind of half-assed situation is this?

“Guess I did. So, do either of you want some of this cream? I’ll slash its price by a third, just for you two!”

“No!”

Reisen flinches and rubs her long ears. “Ouch, no need to scream.”

You take a deep breath and try to remain calm. “Reisen, don’t tell me you just forgot. How can you not remember the murder?”

“The what?”

“You were a wreck! Completely hysterical! You were helpless when you were like that! You looked terrible even before Reimu attacked you! You-” Cut yourself off when Byakuren grabs your shoulder.

Reisen is staring at you with a vacant look on her face. Once you stop shouting, the rabbit begins to quickly glance around. There’s a bit of shakiness in her voice. “Listen. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I just met you the other day, right? Besides, whatever it is you’re talking about, it doesn’t sound like something I would want to remember.”

The sales bunny puts away the bottle of cream and smiles at you. “I appreciate you coming over to check up on me, for whatever reason. We haven’t talked much, but I’ve got a good feeling about you. I have work to do, but feel free to stick around as long as you want. Later.”

What happened?

Reisen walks away and you don’t stop her.

It doesn’t make any sense.

“You are more than your emotions. Do not let them overtake you.” Byakuren’s sage advice goes in one ear and out the other.

“I’m not crazy. I did not imagine what happened yesterday,” you assert.

The nun nods. “I never said you were. “

“I don’t like what’s happening here.”

“I myself have had little dealings with those of Eientei, but something certainly seems amiss. However, beware of jumping to rash conclusions.”

The two of you continue to hang out in the hallway. “What do you think is happening?”

“I am reluctant to say. There are many possibilities I suspect, but many more that I am probably unaware of. Without more information, I would dare not say.”

“Alright then. Who the hell should I be bothering? There are two immortals in charge here, right?”

“That is correct. However, in your current state of mind, confronting either of them might lead to unfortunate circumstances.”

You shrug and begin to walk down the hall. “Well, that’s why you’re here with me, right?”

“You, I dare say, are a troublesome brother. Your sister’s saint-like patience is remarkable.” Byakuren, for all her caution, follows after you.

She might not be a saint, but Byakuren is one charitable person for putting up with you.

Making trouble is not your priority, despite what others might believe. You just want to understand what’s happening. There are plenty of people you can talk to Eientei. The question is, who would tell you what you want to know?

[ ] Find Tewi
[ ] Look for the Princess
[ ] Mix with the Earth rabbits
[ ] Pursue Reisen further
[ ] Take some time to cool off outside
[ ] Talk with the other Moon rabbits
[ ] Track down this Doctor Yagokoro
[ ] <Write-in>

---

This update is brought to you by Frozen Fingers Inc.

>Reisen votes
Well, the main reason this was still an option (much like the others) is because someone voted for her. Repeatedly. All the way back in the original Touhou grab, one die-hard fan voted for their bunny. That isn’t to say she doesn’t have a place in the plot, though.

Anyway, I’m of the opinion that this isn’t just an out-pouring of Reisen-fags. The bunny has been on the vote for a while, but there have been plenty of other decisions taken. I might be wrong, of course, but I haven’t seen any real wars yet. Everybody is taking it easy and being at least somewhat intelligent in their votes. All good around here, I reckon.

>Rabbit suffering
There’s some sort of alluring aspect to this, although I can’t tell what. I mean, there has to be some reason it’s so common, right?

>>165368
We have a winner! What would you like for your prize?
>> No. 165495
[X] Take a deep breath, calm down, rushing and shouting won't do any good in this situation.
[X] Since Reisen seems to have spontaneously developed memory problems, keeping the pressure on her would likely do more harm than good. It's best to ask around Eientei if Reisen was acting strange yesterday.
-[X] Ask Byakuren if she has any idea what might cause sudden loss of memory.

I'm betting Eirin is somehow responsible, but I'm not sure if our character knows enough about her to tell.
>> No. 165496
>>165495 here.
Now that I've spent a few more minutes thinking about this, lunar rabbits had some kind of telepathic network between them, right? Since we have lunar rabbits besides Reisen present in Eientei (think it's the first story I've seen that has that) perhaps we can question them about it? ...urk, then again, our character isn't aware of it...
>> No. 165497
[x] Find Tewi

She knows Reisen, knows how things work around here, right? Maybe she could give us an explanation.
>> No. 165498
>>165495
There have been enough little chats with Byakuren to get the 'gist' of all the major Touhou characters that are likely to be encountered. So, running up and harassing the doctor known for her potentially shady and advanced drugs is a possibility.

Likewise, in my opinion, bugging Reisen's lunar peers is sensible enough even without knowledge of any potential other abilities.
>> No. 165499
[X] Track down this Doctor Yagokoro

Nah, Tewi would probably troll us. Meeting between Eirin and MC should be funny based on his reactions when he saw Byakuren for the first time.
>> No. 165502
[X] Take some time to cool off outside
-[X] Then, track down this Doctor Yagokoro

She must know something about her subordinate's 'mysterious' mindwipe. But before we question her, we should really calm ourselves. God knows what kind of rash things we could do when we're in such a hot-blooded state.
>> No. 165503
[X] Look for the Princess

It's clear that someone altered Reisen's memories, but whether it was Yagokoro or the Princess is uncertain. This way we can be sure that if the Princess was the one who altered her memories we can question her, and if it was Yagokoro we will have the ear of the Princess to make her give up the information.
Going straight to the Doctor will only result in her shutting down any questions that we may ask ,as we are a stranger to her, and she may also start to ask questions that we don't want being asked.
>> No. 165504
[x] Take some time to cool off outside.
-[x] Then, track down this Doctor Yagokoro.

The necromancer must meet the Brain of the Moon.
>> No. 165505
[x] Take some time to cool off outside.
-[x] Then, track down this Doctor Yagokoro.

Alteration of memories? Unforgivable!
>> No. 165506
[x] Take some time to cool off outside.
-[x] Then, track down this Doctor Yagokoro.

I dislike the bunny anyway. And Eirin is... I don't know. Eirin.
>> No. 165509
(x) Deeply unsettling. See what's up with Doc. Try not to accuse her of brewing up memory foggers, it could even be at Reisen's request, but...
>> No. 165510
>>165368 here. I knew it!
You should be sure to play this game called "Ib". Then "The Witch's House", both of which can be found free through Google. Or if you've played both, a quick abstract game of "The Mirror Lied".

Prize? Maybe add a few references here and there, hehe.

As for the actual vote

[X] Look for the Princess
Pissing against the tide, but I figure why not.
>> No. 165511
[x] Take some time to cool off outside
-[x] Attempt to apologize to Byakuren for earlier, you get stupid about your jacket.

Honestly I wasn't expecting the MC to put his foot in his mouth on autopilot.
>> No. 165513
>>165510

Ah yes, Ib, Mad Father, and Witches House. All translated by the same guy who's translated Touhou-A-Live, Touhou Mother, and is currently translating Touhou Mother 2.
>> No. 165564
File 136279916023.png - (52.03KB , 249x238 , 1294471601908.png ) [iqdb]
165564
[Z] Find Tewi
Because Tewi.
>> No. 165575
[X] Look for the Princess

While it probably is because of Eirin i think it is better to go off asking Kaguya. She probably knows everything going around here and is a bit less serious than Eirin. If we tell her that we helped Reisen she will probably tell us.
Besides, I find it intresting ho our dear writer will picture Kaguya for us
>> No. 165661
File 136330483944.jpg - (74.48KB , 680x510 , there-goes-that-plan.jpg ) [iqdb]
165661
“Sorry for being so much trouble, Byakuren.”

“Hm? Apology accepted, although it is quite unexpected and unnecessary. I understand you are impaired when it comes to certain higher brain functions. Don’t worry over it.”

“Geez, thanks.” You look out at the bamboo forest, idly wasting time. Byakuren and you are sitting on the wall that rings Eientei, taking time to cool off - a bit of thinking to get your thoughts in order before storming off after the wrong person.

Reisen’s condition surprised you. Tinkering with someone’s memories is despicable, almost as bad as subverting their independence. Sure, you’ve met a few amnesiacs that were more than happy, but memories are precious. A time long past, whether good or bad, is something that becomes a part of those who experience it. Everybody should cherish those memories.

“Are you that upset over this discovery?” Byakuren’s voice is soft, skipping along with the slight breeze.

“Yeah. Don’t you think a person’s memories are important?”

“I do. If we do not remember the past, if we do not celebrate it, who will? Memories are the gifts of those long gone.” She must have it tough, balancing all her different roles in life. Everybody must expect something different from her, something different from how she wants to act. Yet, she can sit here with you, smiling as she takes in the wonderful day. Despite whatever has happened in her life, she can keep smiling. She’s amazing.

“Is there something wrong with my appearance?”

“What? No, why would-” Oh.

You avert your eyes and stop staring absentmindedly at Byakuren. Instead, you gaze out at the forest again. This time, you notice slivers of white and red that stand out against the earthen hues of the underbrush.

“Hey, is that you, Mokou?” You call out.

Sure enough, the white-haired woman crawls out from a bush and stands up, walking into the small gap between the forest and the wall. “How’d you know it was me?”

“It’s hard to avoid noticing somebody like you.” Her strange aura gives her away to your senses, at least. An immortal that exudes a strange state of deathlessness stands out to you like a pile of dung does to everybody else.

“Really? I thought I was being pretty sneaky. The rabbits never seem to notice me. But, maybe they’re just pretending? Lulling me into a false sense of security? Yeah, they would do that, wouldn’t they? Tewi is definitely the type to- er, ‘sup Byakuren?”

“Greetings, Mokou.”

The immortal coughs and scratches the back of her head. “What are you two doing here?”

You shrug and kick your feet like a kid. “Cooling off before I confront the big bad boss.”

“You’re…what?”

“Thinking about meeting this Eirin Yagokoro.” If you had to point blame at somebody in Eientei, it would be her. Byakuren agreed with your assessment, which is good enough for you. “Any tips?”

“Don’t consent to anything she offers.”

Mokou didn’t even hesitate. “Thanks for the advice?”

“I’m not kidding. Dealing with her, for any reason, is a pain. It won’t end well for you. Do you need me to-” Mokou’s chest bursts open in a bloody explosion. Her entire left shoulder is blown apart, her dismembered arm dropping to the ground. A ragged hole, centered exactly where her heart should be, runs red with Mokou’s blood.

The white-haired woman crumples to the ground.

“What the hell?” You try to jump off the wall and get to Mokou, but Byakuren grabs your arm and hauls you back up. “Byakuren, you-”

“Relax.”

You want to scream at her, but a groan draws your attention back to the ground.

“Ow, damn rabbit,” Mokou grumbles as she staggers to her feet.

Right. Immortal.

She’s on fire, blazing brightly like a human torch. Within the flames, you can see her body rapidly regenerate, her shoulder and arm reforming in seconds.

The arm she had lost is also on fire, burning and disappearing while leaving nothing behind, not even ashes. After a few seconds, Mokou looks none worse for wear. Not even her spilled blood is anywhere to be seen. The only hint of what had happened is her torn shirt that is-

Uh, you guess her clothes aren’t immortal so-

You politely turn your head and decide to stare at Byakuren. She shouldn’t mind.

“You’re kidding me! They put Irisu on the-“

Not loud, distinctive, bang. A soft whirring is the only hint of what happened, again. You hesitantly turn back to find a headless Mokou lying on the ground.

After her second revival, Mokou doesn’t stand back up. She remains crouched on the ground, angrily looking upwards. “Fine, I’m leaving!”

Without so much as a farewell, the immortal turns around and begins to craw; back into the underbrush, muttering all the way. “Sheesh. Someone in there is pissed if they’re putting snipers on the roof, especially that double lunatic. If they put half of their time into…”

You scan the roof of Eientei’s main building. A white-haired rabbit girl, a lunar one you suspect, is crouched up there, some sort of rifle resting against her shoulder.

The sniper bunny with the blue witch’s hat waves at you when your eyes meet.

Uh-huh. Not too strange, you guess. “Is this…something we should be worried about?”

Byakuren’s confident voice sounds a bit shaky. “Perhaps? I ask that you keep this incident in mind while speaking with Eirin.”

“Right…”

The two of you hop off the wall and begin the walk back into the building. You get a few earth rabbits to direct you, and then one of the lunar rabbits leads you through the hallways of Eientei. With a short bow, the lunar rabbit leaves Byakuren and you standing in front of an unmarked door, seemingly no different from any other doorway you’ve seen.

“Hello?” You knock on the door and are surprised by the cold feel of metal against your knuckles. The faux wooden door zips open, letting you see inside the room.

It’s a science lab, the kind you might see on television. White everywhere, with shelves of tools and racks of containers. Measuring cups, droppers, those glass triangle things…

You’re out of your element with all the science. That sort of looks like a vacuum cleaner on steroids and that looks like a microwave without sides. The medical instruments are more familiar, but you’ve never gotten to use a modern operating room. Besides, the trays of sharp tools don’t inspire any confidence.

Sitting at the table in the center of the room is a woman with a long silver braid. She’s bent over a bubbling concoction, her red and blue dress out of place in the environment. More than physical appearances, you can feel it. This woman possesses whatever strange immortality Mokou does.

“Great, you’re here. Grab me the bottle of hydrofluoric acid and- Wait.” The silver-haired immortal glances up from her work. Her dark grey eyes pierce straight through you, judging you in an instant. You feel inferior in that gaze, nothing compared to the obviously alien scientist that is no doubt capable of squashing you just as assuredly as any of these other- “Who are you?”

Right. Business. “Doctor Yagokoro? I was looking to ask you a few questions.”

The immortal nods. She grabs a domed lid and setting it over whatever concoction she’s working with. “Very well, if you consider these questions important enough to interrupt my work. There are two foldable chairs in the corner there.”

Byakuren and you sit yourselves across from the infamous Doctor Yagokoro. Across her table lies dozens of opened books. Some are written in Japanese, another in what you think might be Sumerian, a few in the romance languages, and the rest you can’t even guess. They aren’t all normal books, either. With the tiniest usage of your mage sight, you can tell some of the books are magical in nature. One of them is scientific – there are holograms projected from its pages, some sort of alien technology you assume.

You introduce yourself to the doctor, and Byakuren makes her polite greeting as well. Eirin nods and also introduces herself, but otherwise ignores any pleasantries. “Yes, yes, now what did you want? You need some specialized medicine? If Udonge would be more attentive in her studies then she could handle cases like this.”

Udonge? You think that’s a nickname. “No, that isn’t it. Although, I do have questions about Reisen.”

“About Udonge? Yes, if you are capable of meeting the bride price I posted then you may marry her.”

“I- What? No! That’s not what I’m here for!”

“That isn’t it either? Speak up, then. I cannot fathom what you are doing here if not for those two reasons.”

“Her memory!” You take a short pause before continuing on. “I’m here to ask you about her memory.”

“What of it? Her memory is certainly higher than your average earthling, but it severely lacks in certain technical areas vital to her work.”

“That’s not what I meant!”

Your shouting doesn’t faze Eirin in the slightest. The oddly clad doctor’s voice doesn’t change from her mildly bored tone. “I suggest a few classes on public speaking, then, so you may convey what it is you actually wish to instead of confusing those you interact with.”

“Hey, I’m just trying to be polite here.”

“Polite? Only you earthlings would consider wasting my time as polite.”

You clench your fist in your lap and try to keep your head. This woman is beyond frustrating. At least she has one thing going for her. Being direct is a sorely uncommon luxury. “Did you alter Reisen’s memory?”

“Yes. Is this all you wanted?”

She…admitted it? “Could you- could you say why?”

“Udonge can hardly work when she is hysterical. Taking advantage of her mind’s natural defenses against such traumas is the quickest route to restore her healthy mental state.”

“So, you removed her memories of yesterday’s events because…you want her to work?”

“To clarify, the memories are repressed, a much easier change to effect. As to your question, yes. Exactly.”

“You just wiped her mind? What the hell? Did she even agree to that?”

“She was not in a proper mental condition to make such a decision for herself. As such, I made the rational decision for her.”

That’s ridiculous! This woman thinks that’s okay? That heavy-handedness makes your blood boil. “Why not help her through her problems? Why not help her recover?”

“Recover? Do you have a strong definition of what is means for her mind to recover?”

“To accept what happened! To be able to move on and live her life despite what happened!”

Your anger freezes in place. Cold fear washes through you.

She’s…dangerous…

Eirin is looking at you. Not like before. Not a passive, analyzing gaze. Her eyes have barely moved a centimeter, but she’s glaring.

She’s upset. She’s angry. Her face hasn’t changed. But you can feel it.

Pressure. What is it? Some force, maybe magical, maybe psychological. You can’t tell. All you know is it’s crushing against you.

Eirin’s voice has changed, slightly. The disinterest in her voice has been replaced by a subtle, intense, edge. “That’s what I have done. Udonge can continue with her life despite what has happened. Your idea of working through mental trauma is asinine. Why would you spend countless hours on therapy for a shallow solution? You would leave her forever hobbled with emotional scars, half-accepting what occurred, susceptible to bouts of melancholy or worse? Any number of anxiety disorders could forever cripple her without a chance for substantive recovery. No, I find your proposed reasoning childish at best, and reprehensible at worst in the face of superior options.”

That’s….

You don’t mean to- you only want-

She’s wrong. She’s wrong, wrong, wrong….right? She can’t be. She’s…

No, you don’t want Reisen to suffer…you don’t, so why…?

A gentle hand on your shoulder. You glance to the side, Byakuren’s comforting smile setting your heart at ease.

Right, less panic. You need to get your thoughts in order.

While you sulk, Byakuren begins to speak. “If I may, might I suggest you also find a tutor in public speaking so that you are able to convey your thoughts without insult to those you speak with?”

Eirin’s gaze shifts over to Byakuren, her voice back to its bored tone. “Oh? I shall take your advice into consideration, Byakuren, but unfortunately I am rather busy. If my duties consisted of only giving facile sermons instead of investigating the mysteries of life, perhaps I could find the time for such trivialities.”

“It is simply a matter of priorities and understanding that should we find ourselves blessed with ability, aiding those around us is the least we can do. Working towards selfish goals is a sad state of affairs.”

“I teach useful knowledge to those with the aptitude to learn, or with whom I am obliged to. Would you argue that imparting the knowledge to improve one’s standard of living is unhelpful? I postulate that this teaching is more useful than, say, propping up my student’s emotions with profuse words of wisdom.”

“Guiding others and attending to their growth as living beings cannot be understated. Allowing them to realize fundamental insights into their natures can ease their suffering. This is something only they may do, unique compared to knowledge that any might learn.”

“Yes, yes, matters of self-knowledge are not to be understated. I whole heartily encourage such soul searching for those that have not found a useful position in society.”

“You-”

“Why would you wipe the mind of the witness to a murder?” You interrupt Byakuren before she can get carried away. She generally has strong hold on her emotions, but you feel like she’s fighting a losing battle.

“As I have already explained my reasoning, I assume you are intelligent enough to be asking in regards to any testimonies or some such. That is no matter. Udonge had already been questioned by both the village authorities and the Hakurei shrine maiden. There was no further need in forcing her to live with such undesirable thoughts.”

You stand up and give the immortal a slight bow. “That’s all I had to ask. Thank you for your time, Doctor Yagokoro.”

“Very well. I expect to see you here again tomorrow at noon, then?”

“What?”

“For experimentation. I require a subject to consume the solution I am currently creating. You have a favor to return for your questions, no?” The immortal lifts the lid from the table, revealing her glass full of bubbling liquid that keeps changing color from purple to orange.

She grabs a random coin from the table and drops it into the solution where is melts almost instantaneously.

You blink and look at Eirin. The doctor shrugs and spins around in her chair, grabbing a beaker of something from behind her. “That was a joke. I do not require compensation for such inconsequential questions. However, if you need to delay my work in the future, I ask that you have a substantive reason. Good day.”

Dismissed from Eirin’s presence, you shake Byakuren on the shoulder and get the nun to follow you out of the lab. The automatic door slides shut behind you.

The two of you hang out in the hallway outside of the lab, staring at the wall as you contemplate what just occurred.

“That was not what I expected to happen.”

“Indeed.”

“I’m pretty sure that I’m the one supposed to pick fights and you were supposed to be the voice of reason.”

“I believe that is the spirit of our current arrangement. However, the situation called for action.” The nun brushes non-existent dust off of her shoulder. “Eirin is not someone I have spent much time with, perhaps for obvious reasons. A talented genius like her is…beyond me.” You imagine that the nun wanted to give Eirin a much nastier description.

You nudge Byakuren with your elbow. “Oh? The great savior of humans and youkai is outclassed? Who would’ve thought?”

She pokes your shoulder in retaliation and smirks. “I believe you were the one quaking in fear.”

“Quaking? Who was quaking? I think it was you. Your eyes were shaking enough that you thought I was quaking. Yeah. That makes sense, doesn’t it?”

“As you say. Are you satisfied after all this?”

That’s a tough question. “I don’t know.” Are you satisfied? You got caught up in Eirin’s flow. You couldn’t think straight. In a way, the immortal’s argument made perfect sense. From a different view, you can never accept her logic.

Glancing out a window, you guess it’s about midday.

[ ] Break for lunch...
-[ ] Lunar cuisine
-[ ] Earthen grub
-[ ] Fire grilled chicken
-[ ] Town fare
[ ] Keep snooping around…
-[ ] By bothering <someone>
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>165510
I’ve already hit up all those games, but thanks for the suggestions. Loved them all in their own ways. As for more references? We’ll see.

>>165511
You obviously underestimated the power of an annoying younger brother.
>> No. 165662
[x] Break for lunch...
-[x] Fire grilled chicken

A bitch Eirin. Lovely.

Let's get the hell out of here.
>> No. 165665
[x] Break for lunch...
-[x] Fire grilled chicken
>> No. 165666
[x] Keep snooping around…
-[x] By bothering Kaguya

Let's visit the Princess, since we're already here.
>> No. 165667
[x] Break for lunch...
-[x] Fire grilled chicken

No real point in staying any longer.
>> No. 165670
[X] Break for lunch...
-[X] Lunar cuisine

Looting their kitchens and running away seems like a suitable way to relax.
>> No. 165672
[X] Keep snooping around…
-[X] By bothering Kaguya.
>> No. 165674
[x] Keep snooping around…
-[x] By bothering Kaguya

Bitchy Lunarians be bitchy. Maybe the exiled princess will treat us differently. And although she's immortal and all that, I doubt Mokou's in the mood to cook anything for anybody after being shot twice.
>> No. 165675
[X] Keep snooping around…
-[X] By bothering Kaguya.
>> No. 165676
>>165674
Mokou's on rather friendly terms and we can bitch about goddamn moonies with her while we eat.

I don't think either of them are in the right state of mind to talk to the princess for a mix of reasons, such as Eirin or a rabbit goon butting in.

That and I wouldn't be surprised if she had something to hide as well.

[x] Break for lunch...
-[x] Fire grilled chicken
>> No. 165679
[x] Break for lunch...
-[x] Fire grilled chicken

qtpi fire immortal is fun
>> No. 165680
[x] Break for lunch...
[x] Fire grilled chicken
>> No. 165681
[N] Break for lunch...
-[N] Fire grilled chicken

>>165679
>qtpi
Did... did you just say "cutie pie"...?
>> No. 165682
Satisfied? No. Do I think we can do a damn thing to change Eiren's mind? Also no.

Whatever the reason, the memories we came for are literally not there. Blocked off, and neither Necroanon nor Byakuren are mind mages.

[X] Town fare
[X] From there we can hit up that cop. Still hoping she has the body and we can sweet talk her into our own brand of forensics, because this is a dead end.
>> No. 165684
[x] Break for lunch...
-[x] Fire grilled chicken

More time with Brokou
>> No. 165686
[x] Break for lunch...
-[x] Fire grilled chicken

Chill-as-fuck unkillable health nuts are awesome. Sociopathically rational moon doctors who bury the truth for convenience are not awesome. Let's go away from not-awesome people and towards awesome people.
>> No. 165687
[x] Keep snooping around…
-[x] By bothering Kaguya

Oh boy, if Eirin is like this I can't wait to see Kaguya!
>> No. 165690
>Yes, if you are capable of meeting the bride price I posted then you may marry her

Clearly we should be doing this to rescue her from memory-wiping. It'd be the moral thing to do.

Failing that, Mokou-time.
[x] Break for lunch...
-[x] Fire grilled chicken
>> No. 165954
[x] Break for lunch...
-[x] Fire grilled chicken

Let's go hang out with Awkward Phoenix.
>> No. 165957
File 136416718436.jpg - (122.19KB , 480x640 , is-there-anything-that-can-be-done.jpg ) [iqdb]
165957
Enough of this place. You half-achieved what you came for and that’ll have to be good enough. You get a bit antsy thinking about a potential lead disappearing due to an alien’s whims, but there’s nothing for it. You can’t exactly dig around in the rabbit’s mind. Your need isn’t so urgent that you’ll force mental scaring on an innocent girl.

The thought of paying for Reisen’s hand and whisking her away like a knight in shining armor crosses your mind, but any price with nearly a dozen zeroes is more than you’ll ever make.

After consulting with Byakuren, heading out for lunch seems to be the best idea.

Naturally, though, you can’t just walk out of Eientei. As you approach the gate, dozens of rabbits hop over and sit themselves down in the entranceway.

“Oh-hoh? Leaving our little home so soon?” Of the rabbit youkai sitting on the gate and kicking their feet, the black-haired one is recognizable. Tewi Inaba, the trickster and leader of the earthen rabbits.

She leaps from the top of the gate and kicks up a small puff of dirt with her landing. She’s in the same pink dress you saw her in the other day. “How’s it shaking Tenderfoot? Cast any good hexes recently?”

“Uh, I don’t do hexes. Or curses. Or jinxes. I realize my stylish clothes might be deceiving but-”

The rabbit girl flicks one of her ears at you. “I’m not talking to you, Womanizer.”

It’s going to be like this now, is it? There are plenty of things you can say to this rabbit.

But you don’t, as Byakuren takes up the conversation. “Tewi, you realize I do not do that.”

“Well, not anymore you don’t. It’s pretty disappointing, really. I think the old you was a lot more fun.”

“The past is the past. Be that as it may, it is good to see you again.”

“Yeah, yeah, you too. I was surprised to hear that you were palling around with this guy.” Tewi circles around you with a critical eye before delivering her verdict. “As far as men go, he ain’t very impressive.”

This damn rabbit. “You aren’t much of a woman yourself.”

Tewi grins at you and holds a hand over her heart. “Oof, that hurts. Vicious, scathing, remarks. Really. I mean it.”

So are the earth rabbit youkai naturally obnoxious, or have they all learned from this one? It might just be a vicious cycle of never-ending annoyance, the rabbits pushing each other to new heights of aggravation.

After the verbal lashing Eirin handed out, you aren’t too enthused with rising to Tewi’s bait. “Is there something you needed?”

“Wow, you aren’t very fun, are you? What does Tenderfoot see in you?” Tewi disregards you and turns back to Byakuren. “You know he was hanging around with another woman before, right? It was kind of lovey dovey but then it turned into this real nasty, vulgar, raunchy-”

“You didn’t see anything like that!” You do not need Byakuren’s opinion of you to lower any more.

“I wonder. You have some pretty deviant fetishes behind closed doors, don’t you?”

She’s trying to dig for information, you’re sure of it. What else could she be doing? It’s not like she was peeking through a window and saw…no, she saw nothing. She won’t get to you! “If you want to stay and chat, Byakuren, I don’t mind, but I’ll be going on ahead.”

Despite the show of force, the rabbits part as you draw close. However, Tewi leaps over your head and lands in front of you, blocking the path once again. “Hold up. There’s a reason I’m here. I hear you blundered right into Eirin’s hands. So, here’s a present. It’s a good luck charm!”

Tewi grabs something from behind her back and lobs it at you.

Red paint splatters as you grab the prop. It slides off your liquid resistant jacket, but you’ll need to wash your hands later. This is a good-luck charm? It’s a cheap plastic toy, something you imagine housewives buying to decorate their houses during Halloween. You imagine the red paint is meant to make it look more real and terrifying. “What do you want me to do with a fake foot?”

Tewi stares at you before sighing. “That was not the reaction I was looking forward to. Hey, you can go back to whatever, he won’t fall for it.”

A rabbit girl peeks out from behind the gate when Tewi calls. She smiles happily and leaps back into Eientei. Although it looks like her left foot is a bloody stump while on the ground, once she hops into the air you can see the outline of her painted foot against the mismatched colors.

“It was going to be a joke.” Looking slightly more sheepish, Tewi continues. “I appreciate you looking out for Reisen. I never managed to thank you for yesterday or today. You didn’t do much, sure, but it’s the thought that counts. Maybe a bit of luck will go your way? See you around.”

Tewi jumps up and whispers into Byakuren’s ear, then she’s off. Most of the other rabbits sitting near the gate, humanoid and normal, get up and disperse once their leader leaves.

“How fortuitous,” Byakuren comments once you two are on your merry way.

“Getting harassed by rabbits is good luck?”

“Being harassed by that one is. Tewi manipulates luck as her talent, although you would be foolish to assume that is the extent of her power. She is older than I am by a large margin.”

It takes a few minutes of walking to find the clearing you’re looking for. “Hey Mokou!”

The long-haired immortal is working in her food stall, taking a cleaver to hunks of chicken laid out on the counter. She looks up and smiles when she sees you.

Then she screams in pain as her cleaver separates her hand from her arm.

Oops.

You apologize to Mokou for distracting her, but the immortal waves you off after her hand reforms in a blaze. Byakuren and you sit down at the stall and chat with Mokou while she works.

“You two finished at Eientei? Eirin didn’t mess with you too badly, did she?” The immortal keeps her gaze focused on the food even while she speaks with you.

“Does she do that to everyone?”

“Yeah.”

“I really didn’t think she would be that uptight or, I dunno, bitchy.” It’s probably an unfair description, but she’s definitely not easy to empathize with.

“She’s like that.”

“I want to call her a freak. A monster. A sociopath. Whether she’s an alien or not, I want to hate her.”

“People tend to think that.”

“I can’t do it, though, because on some level she’s right. We just have two incompatible views.”

“She’s smart.”

The immortal is cooking, but that wouldn’t stop her from talking. You expected a torrent of words from her, on some topic or another. “What’s wrong with you, Mokou?”

“What?”

“You’re acting strange.”

“Am I?”

“Yeah. You’re too quiet.”

Mokou’s eyes flicker between you and Byakuren before returning to her cooking. “No I’m not.”

“I’d say you are.”

“Well, I’m not.”

“I think it’s pretty suspicious.”

“It’s not suspicious.”

“It really feels like you’re hiding something or-”

“I’m not!” The fire from the grill jumps up in line with Mokou’s mood. “I’m acting perfectly normal, exactly how Keine said I should act when there are other people around and I need to be careful not to alienate them with any weird tangents or stories or anything else I might accidentally talk about! There’s nothing wrong with me so you can stop asking because all you’re doing is making me nervous that I’m not doing a good enough job!”

You smirk. The immortal’s glare isn’t particularly terrifying, unlike what you’ve gotten from Byakuren or Eirin. “I’m going to burn your food.”

“That’s no way to treat a customer.”

Mokou’s face looks redder when Byakuren begins to giggle, but that might be due to the much brighter fires. “I’m glad you are managing to acclimate to Gensokyo. After meeting you and conferring with responsible others, I worried for your ability to make normal friends, if at all.”

“I’m not a child…”

“I am normal…”

Mokou’s grilled chicken, in combination with a variety of sauces, is as delicious as ever. You have to give credit to her cooking skills. She’s able to adjust to her mood-based fires effortlessly.

The three of you tear into skewers and talk between bites.

“What the hell is Eirin’s problem?”

Your griping draws the rambling from Mokou that you’ve come to expect. “She’s a genius and she comes from the moon. That’s your fungus patch of problems right there. When she can see the obvious solution to every problem and you can’t she’s bound to get frustrated, and even worse she hasn’t put in the effort to socialize. She deals with rabbits and lunatics all day and sits in her lab and plots how to kill me or protect Kaguya. At least I go out and socialize in the village!”

“So she’s an intelligent misfit. Great.”

“You shouldn’t be so tough on her. She’s had a rough time of it all just as much as us, I think.” For a woman who had the upper half of body exploded by lunarian weaponry, Mokou doesn’t seem particularly bitter.

“She kills you on a regular basis, correct?” Byakuren’s voice contains a hunt of surprise, echoing your thoughts. “You do not hold a grudge?”

“I do. Well, I did. Vengeance gets old after a couple hundred years. Besides, it’s not like she’s particularly malicious or anything. Feels like more of a formality at this point, or a way to get her point across. If I ever have problems, I think I could go to Eirin for help, most of the time, if I agreed to get experimented on later, and maybe had to deal with Kaguya or Tewi’s humiliation after stepping on a dozen different booby traps and, uh, well, maybe I couldn’t go to her for help, but I still think she would. Maybe."

Mokou keeps the supply of food steady, more skewers cooked in perfect time as you finish what you have. “Here you go Byakuren.”

“Ah, delicious.” The nun takes a huge bite out of the fresh skewer, opening her mouth full of chicken and breathing the heat away.

The sheer crudeness in her actions make you chuckle. “Are you even allowed to eat meat? Aren’t Buddhists supposed to be vegetarian?”

Byakuren’s face shifts from the bliss of gluttony to the horror of embarrassment. She quickly swallows her food and attempts to regain her elegant posture. “Ahem. All life is valuable, and to kill an animal solely for consumption when there are other options available is certainly frowned upon by certain texts. However, if one were to follow the Buddha’s example, eating meat should not be expressly forbidden.”

Although you all move on to other topics, you can’t help but notice the difference in Byakuren’s actions from there on. She only takes dainty bites and speaks in proverbs, giving you the same impression as when you first met her.

You sigh and turn to Byakuren, resting your head on the table while you confront her. “Is there something wrong with you, now?”

“What do you mean?”

“Too uptight.”

“I am not.”

“As much as I’d like to this routine again, there’s food to eat. If you don’t want yours I guess I’ll take- Ow!” You attempt to lift one of the skewers from Byakuren’s plate ends when your hand is slapped away.

“That will not be necessary.” The nun quickly claims the untouched skewer and tears half of the meat off with one bite. “Mmm.”

“Glad you like it, Byakuren, although I really didn’t expect this from you. I remember those few meetings that Keine forced me to sit in on and you were more the type to nibble at her food than anything, like opening your mouth would be far too unsightly for the kind of person you were trying to be because you had to look better than everybody else or the world would fall apart.”

“That is not the case at all.” There’s some tension in Byakuren’s voice as she leans back in her seat, assuming near perfect posture.

Mokou watches the nun with a raised eyebrow before some realization hits her. “Oh, crap, did I say something offensive? Uh, hold on, I didn’t mean to imply that, uh, you were completely arrogant or conceited because, uh, it totally didn’t come across that way even I wasn’t very clear and, uh-”

“That is fine. I took no offense at your words.” Despite her claims, Byakuren’s face is determinedly set in a displeasured frown.

“Then, you, uh…?” Mokou starts to panic and none too subtly implores you for help with her eyes.

What are you supposed to do? Women are inexplicable creatures.

Anything you do can’t be worst? If Mokou really wants your help, you’ll try.

“A little messy eating isn’t a problem, is it? It’s a compliment to the chef!” You grin and give Byakuren a thumbs-up.

She glares at you.

“Oh, not it? Well then, don’t worry about eating all that meat. I’m sure you won’t gain much extra weight from it.”

You think her eye is twitching.

“Still wrong? Okay then, how about-”

“Enough.” Byakuren sighs and leans forward onto the counter, starting to chow down on her food again. “Do not strain your brain giving me more reasons to hit you. There’s nothing wrong.”

You might never know whatever thoughts run through the nun’s head, but at least she’s more relaxed. Whatever self-image problem she had seems to have been resolved, for now. Everybody is acting as you expect while you all finish eating. Conversation flows unhindered.

That’s to your detriment. Byakuren just loves to linger on your mistakes. “As graceful and inventive his landing was it had much to be desired.”

“Oh man! That sure brings me back to my old days, although I wasn’t nearly as focused on survival and I didn’t really have the magic or materials to do anything else to arrest my fall and it was more my decision to jump off all those things and, well, I guess it’s really not too similar other than the whole falling bit.”

Mokou’s words make you curious. You remember her saying something along those lines before. “Why were you choosing to jump off mountains and other stupidly high up areas?”

“To kill myself. Permanently was the goal, but it never really worked out like I wanted it to. Once I got over that whole phase and could move on, the jumping was really more for a change in activity, although it all paid off in the end now that I can fly.”

“I believe I am missing something. How does flying relate to attempted suicide?”

“I just got really used to falling, I guess. It might only take a minute to hit the ground but it sure felt like a lot longer, and climbing back up was worse. Even if you’re depressed or crazy it’s hard not to let your mind wander and think about how much of a pain it all is. Once falling kind of became second nature to me and I didn’t particularly want to hit the ground in a bloody mess, I adjusted everything and starting flying.”

“That…doesn’t make any sense.”

“I concur. One does not simply fly because they fall too much.”

“Well, you two are going to have to get over it because that’s exactly how I did it. I never really cared to figure out why, although I have asked a few different people and some of them said I jumpstarted my really low magical potential through repeated traumatic experience. I don’t think about it that much, but it turns out practicing the same thing over and over is the best way to improve.”

“I suppose that is one possibility.” The nun turns to you, her face suspiciously devoid of emotion. “Does necromancy make you immortal?”

An interesting question, completely determined by the definitions one uses. “Uh, not really. Not like Mokou, at any rate. Theoretically, there are bunches of ways necromancers can cheat death. Most of them involve transmigrating the necromancer’s mind and soul to another body, dead or alive.”

Liches, as they are commonly known as, aren’t commonly found in any part of the world. Mainly because lichdom generally involves offing yourself, and reapers do not take kindly to idiots who try to stop their collection. If there’s one golden rule of necromancy you’ve learned, it’s to never attract the attention of a reaper if you can help it.

As far as technical requirements go, you imagine that you could cast a few different spells to achieve ‘immortality.’ Preparing a phylactery only takes a day, but you would naturally spend a hell of a lot longer if you were entrusting your future to something like that. “Worse comes to worse I could try it, but I haven’t prepared for anything like that. I’m not willing to take any chances with my soul, at the moment.”

You’ve spent years researching concepts like this, with the black onyx system imbedded in your body as the final result. A one-of-a-kind artifact is how one magician described it, before you gutted the bastard for trying to surgically remove it from you. It’s stood every test that’s been thrown at it, from possession-happy specters to voodoo soulstealers. At this point, the only known trial you haven’t thrown your soul anchor against is the power of a reaper, something you don’t plan on testing either.

Striving for immortality by experimenting with your soul, in any manner, is not on the table at the moment.

“How unfortunate. It seemed like an effective solution.”

Byakuren rests her head against the counter, leaving you curious. “Wait, solution to what?”

“Repeatedly tossing you from Youkai Mountain would strengthen your magic as well as give you flight. I was looking forward to it.”

“Would you mind being a good dark magician Buddhist lady and figuring out an actual flight spell for me?”

“I doubt you will ever accomplish it under your own power. As you attest, you do not have the raw power necessary or the ability to gather such power on your own. I believe the best temporary solution would be to create for you some item of magical flight.”

The image of a witch careening around the village’s center comes to mind. “Like a broomstick?”

“Yes, but perhaps less stereotypical. The enchantment should not be difficult, I think. You are not particularly muscular.”

That hurts. You’re no ridiculous bodybuilder, but you aren’t weak. “Didn’t you say you wanted a few days to think about it?”

“That was in considering a more permanent fix which, after thinking upon it for the past few hours, seems more and more impossible. As you yourself have noted, you do not have the necessary power, no matter how resourceful or intelligent you are.”

Fair enough. You know your limits. “What’s another magic trinket to hold on to? Considering all the other junk I’ve gone through, another item wouldn’t hurt.”

“Very well. If you wish, I believe I can accomplish this now. I already have an item in mind that I may enchant back at the temple.”

“Should I just stay here if you were to go do that?”

“That would be wise, though it would be a simple ordeal to find you somewhere else. I do not think it would take more than an hour or two at most.”

Mokou excitedly jumps into the conversation. “You plan on hanging out around here? If you do, would you want to have a spell card duel?”

You didn’t see that coming. The topic barely came up while you all talked. “That’s a pretty sudden challenge.”

“It’s only if you want to. After you mentioned you had some spell cards, I started thinking about Reimu beating you up and realized you aren’t really prepared to defend yourself even from your average man eating youkai that still lurk around out there.”

That’s not true at all. You can definitely take down your average youkai on your own if they’re similar to the ones found at Myouren temple. “I can handle a monster or two just fine.”

“Yeah, and risk losing a few of your limbs to a bite-happy youkai, or maybe you’ll even do it to yourself. I can’t tell with that self-mutilating style of magic you practice whether it’s smart for you to get in a fight where you plan on surviving. Point is, practicing your spell card dueling would get you out injury free if you don’t count some bruising.”

“I still can’t fly, you know?”

“We could work on that later then, flying isn’t everything. Some of the humans from the village get by without flying during a spell card duel just fine, so I don’t see why you can’t with a little practice.”

“What about your house?”

“If it’s only you I’m pretty sure I can restrain myself to avoid damaging any of my property, and any damage you might cause can be pretty easily fixed afterwards, not that an amateur like you should be able to do much.”

Mokou’s logic makes sense, even if it damages your pride. After hastily making a few spell cards at Byakuren’s behest, you haven’t touched the things once. They’ve sat in a pocket this entire time.

However, you’re not sure if that’s the best use of your time. Reisen might be a dead end as far as leads go, but if you didn’t want to wait on Nazrin, there are still other areas you can investigate. Reimu and Kotohime might have found something, or you could always try to summon the dead man’s spirit – that might normally be improbable by now, but Gensokyo’s strange structure might give you the boost you need to connect.

[ ] More loot!
[ ] Byakuren can get it later, if at all

[ ] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou
[ ] Try and find Yoshika and your sister
[ ] Check in with the village authorities
[ ] Look for the dead man’s body
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Two separate votes should be obvious enough. Either (temporarily) part with your friendly Buddhist companion or not, and decide on how to spend your time.

Also, a new week means a new vidya game to hog my free time and interrupt updates. As much as I love writing, slapping around oversized monsters is too addicting.
>> No. 165958
[x] More loot!
[x] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou

I really enjoy your Mokou. Beyond that, we really need to learn how to defend ourselves.
>> No. 165959
Every single time I see this story on the main page, I mistake the name for Ancient Gensokyo somehow.

[x] More loot!
[x] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou
>> No. 165960
[x] More loot!
[x] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou
>> No. 165963
[ ] Look for the dead man’s body
[ ] More loot!

Dark Magician Girl, I mean Byakuren, and trying to get to a plot point before it closes? I'm okay with that.
>> No. 165964
[x] More loot!
[x] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou

More stuff is always fun, and we do need to brush up on our danmaku skills. If we're weak in that area, then all of Gensokyo is a geas waiting to happen.
>> No. 165966
[x] More loot!
[x] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou

Is CHA a dump stat for Necromancers?

I think Yoshika/Sister will come back sooner or later, either that or we'd hear from Reimu.
>> No. 165973
[x] More loot!
[x] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou
>> No. 165974
[X] More loot!
[X] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou

While I would love to meet back up with Yoshika and Sis after this, though.

>If there’s one golden rule of necromancy you’ve learned, it’s to never attract the attention of a reaper if you can help it.

Obviously this means he's destined to eventually meet Komachi.
>> No. 165975
[x] More loot!
[x] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou
Didn't we just learn that practice makes perfect?
>> No. 165977
>>165974
Imagine how he'll shove his foot into his mouth with her. I mean he's so bad that perhaps even AWiY's MC has more CHA than him.
>> No. 165988
[X] More loot!
[X] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou
>> No. 165989
[X] More loot!
[X] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou.

Hopefully, nothing terrible happens while we're chilling out with Mokou. Then again, it would be all too easy if it was like that, right?
>> No. 165990
[X] More loot!
[X] Look for the dead man’s body

While learning how to fight might be useful, that man's body isn't getting any warmer.
>> No. 166001
[X] More loot!
[X] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou
>> No. 166006
>>165966
The opposite actually, if we're dealing with dnd. I don't think we are, so it doesn't matter.

>Abilities: Charisma is the most important as it powers all the necromancer's spells in addition to granting more 'rebuke undead' attempts. A high dexterity can prove invaluable when enemies focus their attacks on rather frail but extremely potent caster. Constitution is also important unless necromancer intends to transform himself into undead at some point in his career via some of the most gruesome necromantic rituals.
>> No. 166010
>>166006
no wonder he's suck a weak one then.
>> No. 166015
Note that Charisma in D&D terms is "force of personality", not "pleasantness of personality", nor it specifies how and when one channels said force.
Maybe he just hasn't had the time to shine yet. :V
>> No. 166016
Shit I think I fucked something up with the sage there. Might as well vote then.

[x] More loot!
[x] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou
>> No. 166021
(x) Find where Kotohime's stashed that body.
(x) We could use Byakuren to claim we need to give him last rites or something. Loot can wait until the evening.
>> No. 166022
[x] More loot!
[x] Pass the time practice dueling with Mokou

Mokou? More like Mocute. Hell, I'll get on the bandwagon.
>> No. 166030
File 136435492494.jpg - (188.23KB , 700x700 , whats-so-important-about-this-vote.jpg ) [iqdb]
166030
“You’re on, hot stuff.”

“Poor jokes will not save you from a painful lesson.”

You frown at Byakuren. “What are you still doing here? Go on, shoo.”

The nun chuckles and turns around, her cape fluttering behind her. “Good luck.”

When you turn back to Mokou, you find that the immortal has already run off to the other side of the clearing. She cups her hands and shouts to you. “Are you ready? You can go for three cards, right?”

“We’re starting just like that?” No practice session? Warm-ups? Reminders? The barest hints of further instruction?

“The best way of learning is by doing!” The immortal yells as she floats into the air. The clearing around you takes on a reddish hue, the indicator that nonsense magic about to take place.

This system is stupid! You never explicitly agreed to anything. How is anything regulated with such informal- “Ash fall!”

The card in Mokou’s hand catches fire, burning and spewing out projectiles. You flood your eyes with magic to activate your mage sight and watch the conflux of magical energy. It swirls from around the entire clearing, dragged toward Mokou’s spell card before being transformed.

Black and grey bullets launch into the air from where Mokou floats, the spherical projectiles rising high into the sky before falling down towards you.

“You’re kidding me.” It’s like a slow rain, magical bullets the size of your head wafting down to the ground. You take a few steps side to side, easily avoiding the projectiles where they fall. “Even I can walk through this!”

“C-Can you? I really wasn’t sure how well you would fare so I tried my hardest to think of a design that was vastly easier than any of the other spell cards I had on me but it was kind of tough since usually I need to try harder, not easier! Uh, in that case, try shooting some bullets!”

“I can’t do that!” Throwing magical fireballs or whatever has never really been in your arsenal. Purely magical projectiles take too much out of you for anything other than a last ditch effort.

“Sure you can! The border supports everybody so even a complete nobody should be able to get a few bullets off! You’re a magician, so that visualization stuff should be easy for you!”

True to Mokou’s instruction, after concentrating on the idea you find yourself launching dark green bolts of energy into the air. It’s a slow, steady stream of projectiles, nothing like the counter-barrage that Reimu was tossing around earlier, but it’s a start.

An explosion of magic signals the end of Mokou’s spell card. All of the black projectiles dissipate at once. “That means your turn is over, right? So I just take this out and…”

You hold your own spell card into the air and shout, “Hope sign, abide with me!”

Spell cards generally reflect their owners in some way or another, according to Byakuren. While it would have been all too tempting to throw in references to dead things everywhere, that wouldn’t help hide your profession from anybody.

You watch your first spell card activate with wonder. A beautiful ball of green and blue projectiles forms in the center of the clearing, vibrant and pristine. Yet, darker projectiles of black and grey form on the edges of the battlefield and snake towards the center. When the two meet, the vibrant greens and blues split apart, shooting outwards and changing color to a muddy brown.

Through it all, a few bright projectiles remain. Pure white bullets spin around in circular patterns, refusing to disperse in the darkness. They dance in hopes of bringing back the greens and blues, despite the sudden calamity. They grow and grow in number, until the circling whites and streaming blacks are whirling around the clearing.

You aren’t much for artsy metaphors, but you suppose this works. You’ve always relied on your sister, even for something like making a spell card.

“Oh man, that’s pretty good! You didn’t really take into account the whole flying, three-dimensional aspect so much, but it’s much more artistic than I would’ve expected from a guy so I give you high marks for the overall aesthetics!” Although Mokou can ramble while she weaves through your spell card, you’re having a much more difficult time.

Concentrating on your spell card is demanding, taking more and more effort with each passing second. You continue to visualize the card, but it’s slipping. The edges of your pattern keep fraying off. Your mind desperately reaches out to keep them in place, but then other parts of your barrage slip and slip until-

It all comes crashing to an end. You couldn’t even hold the pattern for half a minute. You’re starting to understand it all, though.

Above you, Mokou calls out. “So, uh, I only prepared one really easy card, so, uh, yeah.

“Limiting edict, Iwakasa’s moon curse!”

Green and blue projectiles come spitting outwards from Mokou. They form large spirals that revolve in opposite directions, crisscrossing several times as they stretch down towards you. They dig lines into the dirt, forcing you to duck and stumble underneath and around them.

Then the ground lights on fire. Red projectiles come bursting out of the fires and- Yeouch!

You roll back to your feet and keep moving. Those things hurt! You’re doing your best to keep your head and limbs clear but then the red shots from underneath you are tough to keep track of and- Ow.

Ow.

Ow.

Double ow.

Ow.

“Ow, ow, ow, ow! Forget this!”

You quickly pull another card out of your jacket and shout its name. “Death sign, rugged cross!”

Mokou’s spell card is instantly broken, replaced by your own. Bright white bullets shoot across the battlefield. They occasionally intersect, forming cross-like shapes for less than half a second. When they do, red bullets pour out from the center, splatters of blood spraying in all directions. A chaotic mess of white and red, no less than a true battlefield’s sights, plays out in front of your eyes.

As quickly as it begins, it ends. The white bullets grow less and less, until the spray of red is all that is left. Then a solid wave of black clears the field, leaving it empty as it first began. Fitting, you suppose. A true knight carries on in the face of persecution from all sides, fighting for what they believe is right until the end, forgotten by most but not all.

“Oh, you remembered you can bomb a spell card with your own! That’s good! Well, not for your spell card count, but its good you remembered! You should have watched your feet some more on that last one because any pain to your legs will cripple you much faster than any hits to your upper body once the pain starts to accumulate so-”

“Life sign, valiant be!” You declare your final spell card and focus, intent on keeping it going for as long as possible.

A single dark green bullet, about the size of your chest, forms on one side of the clearing. It zigzags from one side to the other, back and forth. Around it, the adversities of the world erupt.

Blue projectiles fall from above and then whirl about like a hurricane. Red bullets spread out from one corner, jumping around packed together like a beast pouncing from prey to prey. Purples and oranges and yellows fly around, each forming a distinctive movement within your spell card’s pattern.

Over time, white projectiles appear on the edges of the field and flock towards the lonely green bullet still traversing back and forth. The white bullets surround that green one, making it larger and larger until a projectile the size of a boulder is careening around the airspace of the clearing.

The future might be uncertain, but there’s nothing to be done but keep moving forward. You have a journey to complete, and all the support you’ll ever need to make it.

Red hot bullets slam into your chest, loosening your hold on your spell card. The pattern in your mind jolts with the pain. You do your best to move around and dodge Mokou’s counter fire, but it takes a toll on your concentration. Before you know it, the entire pattern has unraveled, Mokou’s attack enough to destabilize it all.

Once your spell card breaks and the barrage clears, the red haze in the clearing fades away.

“Ugh.” You fall to your knees, huffing and puffing like you just ran away from a horde of angry centaur.

“Whew. That wasn’t bad at all! I think you could definitely give any lower end youkai trouble with those cards as long as you manage to keep yourself in one piece during it all. I was really surprised that you didn’t have more dead things or- are you okay?” Mokou floats over to you, as relaxed as when she began.

“No.”

“Oh come on, stop being a baby. Up you go!” The immortal hooks her arms underneath yours and hauls you to your feet. She stands behind you and keeps you steady, shifting around until she’s supporting you with one arm around your back. “Work through the pain. It’s mostly mental anyway. Your limbs might feel like they’ve been cut off or burnt or something but that’s just the border working its magic and making you think you’re hurting a lot.”

“Pain is pain. Hurt is hurt.” Even with your body aching, your mind is still clear enough to be surprised by Mokou. With her supporting you like this, you realize how small she is.

You aren’t too much taller than her, but she has no substance, no weight. She feels surprisingly skinny all around, without any solid layers of muscle or the like. You feel bad when she’s supporting most of your weight because she’s staggering a bit. It must be a real effort to lug you into her ho-“Ow.”

Banging into the doorway while you’re already hurting is not pleasant.

“S-Sorry. I really didn’t think you’d be this bad off. I should have eased up on my attack for that last part, but I thought it would be good experience for you to- uh, can I get you something? Here, maybe you should just lay down here? Uh, I can, uh, let me get you some water or- yeah, water is good, right? Right. Maybe tea would be better if…” Mokou dumps you on her bed and scurries off to her kitchen. You scoot upwards until you’re sitting against the headboard, contemplating which body part will stop hurting first.

The attacks in a spell card duel or non-lethal, but you’d be better off if your entire body was covered with bruises.

Mokou comes back a few minutes later, tray of tea in hand. She sets it down next to the bed and pours a cup.

“Here, try some of this. Uh, hold on,” the immortal raises the cup to her mouth and blows on it several times. Then she moves closer to you and carefully raises the teacup. “Okay, sip it slowly so it doesn’t burn because I think-”

“I can drink the tea myself, Mokou.”

Your host blinks and nods. “Oh. Right. Here you go.” She hands over the teacup, letting you sip the drink at your leisure.

After resting for a few minutes, you sigh. “You people are crazy for going through that.”

“It isn’t so bad after you get used to it.”

“If you say so. Have any more tips for me?” Mokou and you cover every part of the spell card duel, the immortal handing out tips and advice for how you can improve. Your pathetic effort only lasted a few minutes, but you obtained a strong feeling for what participating in a spell card duel entails. When Mokou explains what exactly you could have done better, she makes it seem simple. You doubt the amount of twisting and hopping that it takes to make up for flying is efficient.

If you ever get into another duel, you feel like you’ll be able to do much better, mainly because you have a better idea on where you can che- er, enhance yourself and the surroundings with magic.

What really interests you through this whole experience is how the border around Gensokyo plays into it all. Mokou doesn’t know of the specifics, beyond how Reimu uses the border to keep track of every duel or spell card declaration. Something to look into, if you’re ever curious about how Big Sister is watching you.

A polite knock on the door heralds the return of Byakuren. “Hello?”

“Hey Byakuren!” Mokou hurriedly goes to answer the door. The two women chat about who knows what for a minute before the immortal brings the nun into the bedroom.

Byakuren takes one look at you sitting on the bed and smirks. “Well, you look as though you were trodden upon by a pack of upset oxen.”

“Thanks. You finished already?”

“Indeed I have. The flight enchantment I used is a simple one to cast. The greater difficulty would be finding an object with enough spiritual power to sustain it.” The nun raises the yellow square of cloth in her hands. “However, I have held on to a few such items.”

“Spiritual power? You used Buddhist magic for this, then?”

“Yes. Self-enhancement, to the point of flight, is one such possibility I have taken advantage of. Do you wish to try it on?” Byakuren hands over the cloth to you.

“What is it?” After you unfurl the square, it turns into a rectangle. It’s only a couple of meters long and a meter wide. When you look closely at the edges, it looks like they’ve been hemmed. You get the feeling the soft yellow cloth was once part of something larger.

“It is part of traditional Buddhist robe. It should be sufficient if you were to wear it as scarf, or perhaps in some other manner you might think of.”

“Can I wear it like a cape?” Byakuren looks none too pleased with your jab at her dress. “Seriously though, what’s so special about it? When you said you needed something with a lot of spiritual power I expected something more…extravagant.”

“Spiritual power is not determined by trivial appearance. Objects used by beings of great power are often suffused with that being’s power after years of use, often leading to the object becoming revered for its sanctity. “

“It’s all just magic, isn’t it?” That’s how you’ve learned to think. Any supernatural effect was just the manipulation of magical energy, in one form or another. Priest’s smiting power? Magic. Faerie’s mind-trickery? Magic. Finding a twenty lying on the ground? Probably a magical trap, given your track record.

“From one perspective, yes. However, you would be hard pressed to use this spiritual energy in fueling your style of magic.”

You flip the cloth around in your hands, liking the overall texture. It’s soft and cuddly. “This isn’t part of your old robes or something, is it? I have to say, that’s pretty lewd, giving your clothes to-”

“It is not! To even think I would give any of my clothes is…” Byakuren stops herself and covers her mouth while she calms down. “No, but that isn’t far off. This belonged to my brother.”

Oh.

Well then.

To fly or not to fly, that is the question.

[ ] Wear it
[ ] Decline
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>Charisma
As >>166015 pointed out, CHA in DnD is pretty weird. That large, smelly barbarian lord that just yells at his subordinates? He can have high charisma, just as much as the guy running around insulting people and somehow getting off light. The swindler that sweet talks you into selling your best weapon and the thug that manages to goad you into a trap are all charismatic people, too.
>> No. 166034
[x] Wear it proudly.

Then man had a dream, peace for humans and non-humans. We must do our part, starting with zombies.
>> No. 166035
[x] Wear it

She thought highly enough of the MC to give him something like this so it'd be rude to refuse it. Now if only we could keep his foot away from his mouth.
>> No. 166037
[x] Decline
>> No. 166038
[ ] Wear it

Can't refuse gifts. Too rude. Also scarfs are [i]so]/i] hot right now. We should wear it
>> No. 166039
>whats-so-important-about-this-vote.jpg

This makes me uneasy for some reason.

But hey, no real reason not to wear it.

[X] Wear it
>> No. 166040
[X] Wear it
>> No. 166041
[X] Wear it
>> No. 166042
[x] Wear it and fly straight to a tree
>> No. 166044
[X] Wear it

But be humble and grateful about it. Byakuren is giving us a part of her brother. We need to remember that.
>> No. 166046
[X] Wear it proudly

Not only is this a gift, but it's a gift that represents how much trust Byakuren has in you. This is from her brother's clothing! Think about it!
>> No. 166047
[X] Wear it proudly.
>> No. 166048
[X] Wear it.

Maybe it would look good like a muffler.
>> No. 166049
(x) Mantle up.
>> No. 166051
[X] Wear it proudly
>> No. 166054
We should definitely treat it with respect though.
>> No. 166062
File 136444776428.jpg - (1.08MB , 2362x1328 , Hmmmmmm.jpg ) [iqdb]
166062
[x]Wear it respectfully.

Yellow scarves on characters related to death, you say?
>> No. 166063
We can be Protoman!

[X] Wear it
>> No. 166064
[x] Wear it
>> No. 166065
>>166062
I liked him better as Pharos tbh.
>> No. 166073
File 136452145253.jpg - (420.90KB , 3000x2400 , protoman.jpg ) [iqdb]
166073
>yellow scarf
>> No. 166115
[X] "You're okay with this? Just giving away something this personal to you? To a complete stranger at that?"
-[X]Wear it respectfully.
>> No. 166117
>>166115
Ohh, I like the write in.
>> No. 166122
[X] "You're okay with this? Just giving away something this personal to you? To a complete stranger at that?"
-[X]Wear it respectfully.
>> No. 166134
[X] "You're okay with this? Just giving away something this personal to you? To a complete stranger at that?"
-[X]Wear it respectfully.
>> No. 166177
[X] "You're okay with this? Just giving away something this personal to you? To a complete stranger at that?"
-[X]Wear it respectfully.
>> No. 166303
[X] "You're okay with this? Just giving away something this personal to you? To a complete stranger at that?"
-[X]Wear it respectfully.
>> No. 166393
File 136539323827.jpg - (165.30KB , 850x743 , this-is-a-flag-for-something.jpg ) [iqdb]
166393
You fumble around with the rectangle of cloth and gingerly wrap it around your neck. Knowing the cloth’s origin doesn’t help you to relax any. “Won’t this just fall if I’m flying around in a duel?”

“If you wear it like that it will. You should wrap it tighter. Perhaps tuck the ends in.”

“Like this?”

“No, no, no.” Byakuren steps closer and grabs the cloth, unraveling it from around your shoulders. “Here, try it this way.”

The nun holds the yellow cloth like her scroll, gently weaving it through the air. She steps even closer and pulls the cloth against the back of your neck. Byakuren is staring at the fabric as she wraps it around you in a practiced manner.

With how close she is you have nowhere to look but at her. For a thousand year old woman, she’s remarkable. You’d think that someone her age would have-

Have, uh, well, she doesn’t, because they’re definitely nice and-

And it’s not like you’re thinking or looking about anything in particular, especially given how unreasonably close Byakuren is standing with her body pressing against you where-

Where it doesn’t bother you, really it doesn’t, but it is kind of awkward. Standing here quietly while Byakuren’s hands occasionally brush against your shoulders or in a way that-

That doesn’t matter. She’s helping out, so you just have to keep on waiting. Byakuren doesn’t even notice your stares as she’s working, although you feel like she’s probably used to it anyway. How can she not be, given how beautiful she-

She has some strange hair. You imagine her trying to dye her hair purple in teenaged rebellion but failing, instead leaving the artsy streaks that look rather appealing in how they accentuate her near-perfect face.

Uh, just stand around.

No need to think.

She’ll be done soon.

Really soon.

How long does it take to tie a scarf?

Oh, good, she’s finishing up. She’s tucking the-

Her hands are kind of cold.

Uh, she tucks the ends of the cloth and tugs down on them, tightening the scarf to a perfect fit.

Then she lets go of the scarf and-

She lets go of the-

She lets go-

She isn’t letting go.

Byakuren is staring down at the cloth in her hands. She’s fondly stroking the impromptu scarf with her fingers, feeling the material while your chest acts as a conveniently placed support. You can feel the slight pressure the drag of her fingers creates.

Uh.

There’s a thing that should be done here. Something you should do.

There’s no threat, so you don’t need to cause your ribcage to violently rupture outwards. That leaves, uh, saying something to get her to-

“There.” Byakuren takes two steps away from you, leaving behind her expertly tied scarf. She’s smiling. Probably not at you, but at her work, because it seems very well done.

“T-Thanks.” You swallow and look down, lightly touching the scarf around your neck. You have to admit, it’s a nice scarf. It’s high quality material. Cashmere, maybe? You think that’s a thing that your sister has talked about. Whatever it’s made out of, it seems fancier and more luxurious than the modest garments you saw the other Myouren Temple monks wearing.

You briefly wonder what Myouren was like. How did he act when he was alive? What was his relationship with his older sister like?

“H-Hey, Byakuren?”

“Yes?”

“Is this okay?” You grab the end of the scarf and wave it at the nun. There has to be a limit to how generous a person can be. Giving away a presumably prized personal possession to what amounts to a complete stranger?

“I don’t see why not.”

“Isn’t this important to you?”

The nun’s gaze shifts from your eyes to the scarf around your neck. “My supply of spiritually potent items is not infinite. There are few other options available at this time.”

“No, I mean-” Wh-Wh-What is she doing?

She’s warm. So warm it’s hot. Your face is definitely burning up now, even while the rest of you is frozen stiff.

You didn’t see this coming at all. Well, technically, you did. You saw her take two steps forward, but didn’t expect her next move.

Objectively, you know this is a hug.

B-But…why?

Byakuren’s speech is loud and clear, given her chin is resting on your shoulder. “It does nobody any good if I were to keep it stored away in my room.”

“I-I see…” She’s just interested in checking the tying of her- your, scarf. Sure, she’s rubbing your back with one hand and combing her fingers through your hair in another, and her head is tilted inwards and leaning against yours, but she’s…

Screw it, you have no clue what the hell is going on.

Where’s help when you need it?

You stand around like a scarecrow, unmoving while held in Byakuren’s embrace. You don’t push her away, but you don’t reciprocate the embrace either.

It’s unexpected, it’s strange, it’s awkward, but it’s also surprisingly comfortable.

When you close your eyes, memories of your own sister’s warm hugs come back to you.

The slightest creak of a door opening signals the end of the incomprehensible exchange. As swift as a swallow, Byakuren is standing an appropriate distance away, her eyes closed and her face set in a mask of calm.

“Hey, that doesn’t look half bad!” Mokou calls out as she exits her house, a pitcher of water in her hands. After dropping the pitcher off at her food stall, the immortal stops a few paces away and nods in approval at your stylish new garment.

You choke up and don’t respond. Thank God she’s socially awkward enough not to notice or care about the full-bloomed blush reddening your face.

Or she does notice and isn’t saying anything. Either way, you’d thank her.

The immortal takes one last look at your new scarf before pumping an arm. “Time to get practicing, right?”

“Come. You should test your new ability.” Byakuren speaks up and opens her eyes. She looks directly at you, no sign of whatever the hell just happened evident in her countenance. All is quiet on the female front, while you’ve been left spluttering and confused.

“R-Right.”

Byakuren jumps right into her lecture, calmly giving you direction. “There are a few different ways you can activate the flight enchantment. One would be through the appropriate chant. Repeat after me.” A litany of syllables ushers forth from the nun’s mouth.

Focus. Focus. With work in front of you, it’s easier to reign in your emotions.

Damn. All the focus in the world won’t help you with whatever she’s saying. “Uh. Wooooh myaaa chaa yarrgh blaah laaah-”

Mokou breaks out in laughter at your attempt, while Byakuren satisfies herself with a polite giggle. “Another method would be to channel your magical energy through the garment while it is contact with your body. Vary the flow to adjust.”

“Couldn’t we have started with that?” You grumble and do as the nun suggests.

Shockingly, you don’t shoot into the air, flip around, or otherwise lose control. Under Byakuren’s direction, you gently rise into the air. “This feels normal.”

“It does? Were you a bird in your past life?”

“I’m just saying that compared to Reimu’s method, this feels right.”

There’s a flare of something from Byakuren. She speaks slightly faster than she normally would during her answer. “Reimu has already given you a method of flight? If she had done so, you could have mentioned-”

“It was just a temporary thing,” you interrupt the nun, forestalling any further misunderstanding. “Besides, I like this a lot more. It’s surprising how comforting the pull of gravity is.”

The nun directs you further as you get used to your new source of travel. “I shall warn you that the enchantment is not perfect. Most things that are not related to you maintaining elevation are unaccounted for. Go too fast or turn too sharply without suitably reinforcing yourself at your own peril. Likewise, flying towards the sun won’t remove your flight, but you are liable to freeze to death. I would not advise falling unconscious while flying, either.”

“Makes sense. I should be good for spell card duels, right? Or coasting around Gensokyo?”

“Assuming you do not fly into a tree, then yes.”

Byakuren reaches out to correct your posture while you fly around, the quick taps of her hand impersonal and efficient. Mokou follows you around in the air, giving you different exercises to practice your flight.

“Just a bunch of kid games that you should know, but in the air so you can get a hold of your flight and all that,” as she described it. Air tag and air dodge the balls of energy go embarrassingly poorly for you, but you get the feel for flight. By the time you start air hot fireball, you’re flying…well, better than a bird with no wings.

Once you begin air run away from the fiery impersonation of a wolf with teeth as large as you are tall, you wonder what kind of games Mokou played as a child.

Eventually, the immortal dials it back and allows you to peacefully float around.

“I’ve never managed a flight spell on my own, so this is amazing. If I could have flown around before, I would never have- Gurk!” A truck slams into you from above, its arms wrapping around your shoulders.

Wait, trucks don’t have arms.

“Master flying! Eheheh~!” Your bones might be crushed, but the bubbly elation is infectious. You’re laughing as you’re spun around by Yoshika. Then the zombie girl is giggling as you put some effort in and twirl her around in the air.

I’m glad to see you haven’t died or something.

You’re glad your sister didn’t spontaneously disappear.

Thanks for worrying about me. That’s sweet.

You were worried, on some level. Not as much as you expected, though. You guess you really did trust Yoshika to watch over your sister.

Well, my mind seems to be just peachy. Assuming you kept yourself and the rest of me in good shape, we’re perfectly capable of doing this again.

That’s good to know, it opens plenty of- By the way, you should watch out above you. Dodge if you can.

You should wha- Whattheflyingevade evade!

A quick jaunt sideways saves you from more pain. The flurry of paper talismans continue to streak downwards until they plough into the dirt.

As you raise your head from looking down, you find yourself staring at one upset shrine maiden. “Did you do it?”

Reimu looks like shit.

If you had to hazard a guess, she’s been flying around Gensokyo ever since you last left her. There are dark bags under her bloodshot eyes. Her outfit has gained even more small rips and tears, and her skin has likewise suffered under new scratches and bruises.

You should probably answer before she hits you. She’s running on a short fuse, at the moment.

“No, I didn’t.” She’s talking about the murder, right? Right. “You can check with Minamitsu. Or Akyuu. Or Yoshika, really.”

The shrine maiden deflates at your answer, her stern countenance dropping away in favor of exhaustion. “S’fine. Almost last, ‘nyway.” With whatever business she had attended to, Reimu floats downwards and lands at Mokou’s food stall. Her head thumps down on the counter. “Needa drink.”

The immortal rushes over and quickly attends to her customer. “Yeah, sure. Water or something stiffer?”

“Wa’ever.” The surprise entrance of the shrine maiden and others puts a halt to your flight practice. You, Byakuren, and Yoshika drift slowly over to where Reimu is slumped.

This was unexpected.

She’s had it tough. Apparently, she hasn’t been able to find the murderer through her usual methods.

What, beating people up? That’s unsurprising.

No dummy, not just that. Her weird light-intuition-border thing. I couldn’t give you any specifics myself, but the cute shrine maiden there taps into the border around Gensokyo for a lot.

Like how she arbitrates spell card duels, then? How she what?

If Reimu can know where any spell card duel is occurring due to the border, it makes sense there are other ways she can use it. Anyway, continue?

Right. Well, she’s beaten up someone from every corner of Gensokyo without luck. You were the last one on her list. Actually, you weren’t even on the list, but we ran in to someone and I couldn’t explain it away.

Who did- Whoa!

Yoshika suddenly reverses direction and jerks you into the air. “Tojiko~!”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m here. You two fly too damn fast for reasonable people.” Your zombie latches on to a new girl that has floated into the clearing. Yoshika hasn’t let go of your arm, either, giving you a nice forced view of the newcomer.

She’s a green ghost. There really isn’t much more to say – short green hair, long green dress, and a traditional ghostly tail.

“Is this him, then?” The ghost speaks, her voice lower than what you expected. She’s appraising you as much as you’re appraising her.

“Yes~” Yoshika let’s go of the ghost in order to completely envelop your left arm.

The green-haired girl nods and introduces herself. “Tojiko of the Soga clan. I do not appreciate how you managed to rile Seiga up, by the way.”

You introduce yourself and give the ghost a quick bow. “Nice to meet you. I don’t regret it.”

“Pfh. Good on you. That bitch had it coming for stealing my hairdryer every morning.” Tojiko snorts and gives you a thumb up.

“What does a ghost need a hairdryer for?”

“I’m a woman first; do you have a problem with that, you idiot?”

You like her.

Are you really an idiot? What? There’s nothing wrong with the new ghost girl. “Not at all.”

“Good. Next time, find a way to tick Seiga off without making it harder on the rest of us.” Tojiko bends at the waist and pokes Yoshika in the head. “Can I go now?”

The zombie looks at the ghost before opening her mouth widely for a loud moan.

“Fine, fine, I’ll stick around for a bit. By the gods, you’re such a whiny servant.”

With nobody else suddenly entering the clearing, you float over to the food stall. Byakuren is already seated at one end and sipping tea, Reimu slumped over at the other.

You snag the middle seat for yourself, Yoshika deciding to claim your lap as her seat. Tojiko simply floats off to the side next to Reimu.

Why do you like her, exactly?

Who, Tojiko? You feel like she’s a direct kind of person. You appreciate that. It’s not like her insults sounded particularly heated, either. She didn’t mean anything by it.

You’re just the master of emotion and inflection now, huh?

Well…forget about that. Why are Reimu and Tojiko here?

We managed to find Reimu and got to talking some, but then we ran into Tojiko. Yoshika got friendly with her, and then Tojiko asked about Yoshika’s new master, which riled up Reimu because-

“You lied.” The shrine maiden pokes you with her tasseled stick and then waves it in your face, the little slips of paper threatening you with terrifying paper cuts.

“No I didn’t.”

“Necromancer, not magician.”

“A necromancer is a kind of magician.” You think back on your interactions with Reimu. “I’m pretty sure Byakuren said I worked with flesh.”

“Hmph.” Reimu might be annoyed, but you feel as if she already knew about you anyway. At the very least, she had her suspicions. The shrine maiden has shown herself to a have a critical eye for detail in some cases. “Tell me important things.”

Or I’ll beat you up, her threat goes. She can slump on the counter while still getting her message across perfectly.

It can’t be healthy for her to still be flying around. “You should rest, Reimu. Pulling all-nighters isn’t good for quality work.” They’re really more for panicked something-is-going-to-eat-me life-or-death work.

“Ngh. Got to solve incident.” Your advice has the completely opposite effect you wanted. Reimu staggers to her feet and prepares to take her leave.

To your left, Byakuren sets down her tea and speaks. “I find him to be correct, Reimu. Excess in all forms should be avoided. Dedication to your work is admirable, but destructive in this particular case.”

Tojiko pipes up with her own opinion. “Byakuren is full of it, as always, but you should listen to her here. Don’t be an imbecile that pushes herself too much.”

“Taking a break won’t kill you, Reimu.” Even Mokou throws in her two cents.

Reimu warily glances between all of you before collapsing back into her seat. “Might kill someone else.” Despite her concern, Reimu doesn’t try to fly off again.

Mokou offers food, but nobody wants any. You all just sit around, sipping water or tea.

The atmosphere feels tense. You think there’s something going, something that you’re missing.

“So Tojiko, what’s your relationship with Yoshika?” You ask, curious as to why the ghost would bend to Yoshika’s whims.

“I’d say mutual acquaintances, but the simple girl would probably shout about friendship if she could, so there you go. She’s bearable company.” Yoshika groans in a delighted way, happy with any perceived compliment.

Someone isn’t as satisfied with Tojiko’s back-handed compliment. “Yoshika Miyako understands her emotions. Is it just to belittle her for that?”

Tojiko turns to look at Byakuren, the nun reciprocating the eye contact. You think that’s the first time the two have looked at each other, actually. “Oh please, don’t you start. People can have their own damn opinions on the same thing.”

“How crass.”

Oh. That’s right. The Buddhists and the Taoists don’t get along.

“I swear, you get more insufferable every time I see you. If you want to fight then just start one instead of trying to provoke me, you shrew. Your games are tiring as hell.”

“I do not believe one such as yourself understands how tiring hell might be, not matter how well you should.”

“Fuck it, I’m not getting into this again. I’m not going to float here and wait ‘till I explode. Glad to hear you’re doing well, Yoshika.” Just like that, the ghost girl floats off, with nobody moving to stop her.

“Master…” The zombie sitting in your lap places her hands against your chest, staring at you with puppy-eyes.

“What’s wrong, Yoshika?”

“Wanted master and friends to be friends…” You frown and rub Yoshika’s back. She sounds genuinely upset. She’s too friendly and affectionate for her own good.

Mokou is the next one to speak up as she refills drinks. “Byakuren, you’re driving away my potential customers, you know? Not that I mind so much given that you eat quite a bit for yourself and she probably doesn’t eat much at all, but it’s really the principle of the matter. Oh, but this isn’t to say I don’t like you because after today I think you’re pretty pleasant company and you’re nice enough not to make fun of me so, uh, I really don’t know why I brought this up. Sorry.”

Byakuren sighs and rubs her forehead. “No, my apologies. You are correct, Mokou. It was my mistake. I…should have better control of myself.”

Abruptly, the nun stands up and excuses herself. “It has been a confusing day. I think I shall return to the temple early to take care of matters and reflect on my behavior.” You think her eyes flick over to you once, but then she takes off after mumbling a quick farewell.

Uh.

Mokou is cleaning glasses behind the counter, Reimu is slumped face-down on the counter, and you’re sitting around with a slightly distressed zombie mewling in your lap.

What just happened?

Beats me, I wasn’t paying attention. Did you do something?

Don’t think so.

Well, you do what you think is best. I’m going to continue to catch up on what’s happened to you.

There’s nothing important you need to know?

Probably not. No concrete leads on the murder from Reimu, anyway. From what I understand, nobody has any good leads or, if they do, they’re hiding it. If anything occurs to me while I dig through what’s happened to you, I’ll bring it up.

Sure, that’s fine. You’ll talk more with your sister later, then.

Now. What to do? From what you can see, you still have a few solid hours before the sun comes close to setting.

[ ] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?
[ ] Hunt a ghost, make a friend. Maybe.
[ ] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.
[ ] Women, who needs them? Strike off on ad- Hey! –on adventure!
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Whew. Interviews and tests and junk are too stressful and too time consuming (and will be for another couple of months, I suspect). All I want to do is write shitty Touhou stories.

>>166039
I was wondering if anybody ever read the filenames.

>All these references
Naturally, we need to combine them all. Plus a few more.
>> No. 166394
[x] Ask Mokou to take care of Reimu and answer any questions pertaining to you on the promise you'll be back eventually. After providing such instructions, go pursue the nun.
>> No. 166395
[ ] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?

Okay. After all these years of reading VN's, I can't ignore the flag.
The. Flag. Is. Just. Sticking. In. My. Face. I. Must. Choose. It.

Salsa, have you been laughed off the site?
No? You're a decent writer.

>> No. 166399
>>166395
Actually, no. Can I take that back, I am a retard and that is a terrible choice.

Uh,
[] Spend time with your sister, ask Mokou to take care of Reimu, and find Byakuren in a few hours if not tomorrow. In his current state of mind, and given his tendencies to put his foot in his mouth, he needs to give the Nun some space and time before talking to her. Talking to Reimu == Bad in this moment considering how negatively Byakuren reacted to her. Same goes for Tojiko, though for other reasons.
>> No. 166402
File 136539825158.jpg - (208.72KB , 683x611 , aigis2.jpg ) [iqdb]
166402
>>166395
Have no fear, I know I am the best fucking writer this side of Shakespeare.

Or I’m just a steaming pile of shit.

This is the amazing treatment I have found for maintaining morale. Having both narcissistically high and depressingly low levels of confidence keeps everything nice and peachy. And it can be yours for three easy payments of $19.99!

Also, the only terrible choice is not voting, no big deal. It’s not like you’ll be imprisoned underneath- uh, never mind.
>> No. 166403
[X] Spend time with your sister, ask Mokou to take care of Reimu, and find Byakuren in a few hours if not tomorrow. In his current state of mind, and given his tendencies to put his foot in his mouth, he needs to give the Nun some space and time before talking to her. Talking to Reimu == Bad in this moment considering how negatively Byakuren reacted to her. Same goes for Tojiko, though for other reasons.
>> No. 166404
[x] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?

It calls out to me, that and the write in seems to be trying too hard.
>> No. 166407
>>166399
Why's that a terrible choice? If the "flag" is what is seems to be, then there's nothing wrong with it.
>> No. 166412
>>166403
[x] write in.
>> No. 166415
>>166407
It's much easier to bandwagon a wordy choice that tries to cover everything as if they know everything, but we'd be lucky if we got much out of it.

One of those votes.

That and they forget that the MC's sister will be too busy sorting things out to talk (hence why she wasn't as CHOICE IN THE FIRST PLACE)
>> No. 166416
>When you close your eyes, memories of your own sister’s warm hugs come back to you.

Dude. Highly questionable relationship beginning here.

It's practically pseudo-incest.
>> No. 166417
>>166416
Oh, and my vote.
[x] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?

I actually don't think it's that good an idea in this situation, but we all know what the [ ] PURSUE THE GIRL vote signifies. Let's go with that.
>> No. 166419
[X] Spend time with your sister, ask Mokou to take care of Reimu, and find Byakuren in a few hours if not tomorrow. In his current state of mind, and given his tendencies to put his foot in his mouth, he needs to give the Nun some space and time before talking to her. Talking to Reimu == Bad in this moment considering how negatively Byakuren reacted to her. Same goes for Tojiko, though for other reasons.

We are a brother who cares about his dead sister who he seeks to revive. Why not spend a little time together with her and Yoshika?
>> No. 166422
[X] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?

Who cares if we put our foot in our mouth? It's kind of adorable, actually, and I think the expression of interest at this point is more important than the smart thing to do, which the MC isn't going to know to do anyways. Let's not meta too much and suddenly make him the master of reading the atmosphere.

That's Iku's job.
>> No. 166423
[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.

Chasing obvious flags is nice and all, but this un-Reimu-like funk is worrisome.
>> No. 166424
[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.

I think we need to save Reimu from herself.
>> No. 166425
[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.

There's a point where you needed to stop, and you passed it a while ago, Reimu.
>> No. 166426
File 136542448966.jpg - (504.62KB , 1000x500 , scarfsareoverdoneintheserieswegetit.jpg ) [iqdb]
166426
>>166402
a.k.a.: the 'YAF' schizophernic approach. An excellent choice as always you retard. Keep up the good work, I'm loving this crappy story. It's great. It's not.
That said, I want to make clear something: the difficulty in picking a choice right now is not only that this feels like a pivotal point, but also that all your characters are so well written that we want to see more of all of them.
>> No. 166428
[x] Follow Reimu
-[x] Make her understand that a rest and a change of tactics is needed.
What will she do if she finds the culprit now? Become the new victim?
Not the best choice for us, but the best choice for Gensokyo. We have Myouren's scarf now. We might as well honor it.
>> No. 166431
[x] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.
>> No. 166432
[ ] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?

Byakuren hugs are the best hugs.
>> No. 166433
[x] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.

I think Byakuren needs a little time to herself right now. Anyway, maybe we can help Reimu out a little? Do something necromantic to gather some information?
>> No. 166434
[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.

As tempting as Hijiri's flag is, I think she only sees us as someone who resembles her brother a lot. We'd best let her regain her bearings and help Reimu on her more pressing matters.
>> No. 166439
>>166434
I doubt that and even if it was, it wouldn't preclude romantic intrests (She is at risk for having a brother complex)

That and I get the feeling missing the flag will miss an opportunity while the Reimu matter could wait.

I hope no one's still aiming for Reisen as I think that's a lost cause by this point.
>> No. 166442
[x] Help Mokou to get Reimu to get some damn sleep , then go after Byakuren once you get Reimu settled
>> No. 166446
[X] Get Reimu to help you loot the dead man's body for a digit.

If any problems arise while calling the spirit we can have Reimu as backup, and this way she'll feel as if she's making progress.
>> No. 166448
>>166439
>(She is at risk for having a brother complex)
I want Byakuren to call us Onii-chan while doing dirty things.

That said,

[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.

I agree that Byakuren probably needs time to unwind. She practically jumped us there, seeing us in that scarf-thingy probably set her off, which is definitely something she's tried hard to not do. If we press her while she's freaking out about her loss of control, she'll likely push us away to avoid dealing with the problem.

And by helping out Reimu we get to have an adventure at the same time!
>> No. 166449
Fuck I'm torn. On one hand, I've never seen a Byakuren romance on this site, and I'm intrigued. On the other, I find myself agreeing with the arguments to not press her on the issue, especially since necromanon has all the social tact of an autistic potato.

I'll just ask: Will skipping the Byakuren option reduce Love Points?
>> No. 166450
(x) Okay, since the Necromancer thing is out in the open, Reimu, if you can find that corpse for me again I think I can get some answers. I just haven't thought of a believable way to get it from Kotohime. Maybe you could claim it needs last rites or sometjing?
>> No. 166456
[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.
>> No. 166458
>>166449

This is what I've been thinking about. I want to see a Byakuren route, yes, but not to the point that we ignore the rest of the story. It just makes sense to me, right now, to give Byakuren some space and let her mull things over rather than push her too hard.

Or maybe I'm wrong and she really needs us right now. Tough decisions!
>> No. 166459
[X] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?

Eh, I'm probably making the wrong choice here, but fuck it. Won't know for sure unless we pick it.
>> No. 166461
[X] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?

As worried as I am about this leading to something irreversible, my curiosity cannot let me choose any vote but this one.
>> No. 166462
Guys, we've already spent more time with Byakuren than anyone else. I think this thread put her ahead of Yoshika, even. It's not like this is a VN where you get a route bad end if you don't choose the girl 100% of the time.

[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.

Reimu just ran out of ideas to solve this incident - an incident we also want to solve. If we can help her out somehow, we'll have the most important person in Gensokyo on our side.
>> No. 166463
>>166442 here

switching to [X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself. Also offer your skills as a necromancer to speak to the dead man about his killer.
>> No. 166464
[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.

Reimu is in a bad state, what with her being unable to find out who the murderer was. Anyways, I'm sure that the case won't solve itself, so we should begin to re concentrate our efforts back to the murder.
>> No. 166465
>>166458
I think the opposite will happen instead if we ignore it: things get delayed as a key moment is passed up.

A wall likely got busted down and by ignore the moment, whatever progress incidentally made will be reset.
>> No. 166467
I get the feeling that one way or another Reimu will be watched over and that choosing it wouldn't bring much about.
>> No. 166469
File 136547337675.jpg - (144.23KB , 1280x720 , yellow-scarf-here-yellow-scarf-there-everywhere-a-.jpg ) [iqdb]
166469
>>166415
To be fair, Big Sis always has time for her Little Bro. She didn’t have her own explicit choice because she isn’t an immediate concern.

>>166426
My thanks, Sir!

>>166448
Sorry to ruin your fantasy, but Byakuren is the elder sister.

>>166449
Yo mang, dis ain’t no vidya game.

Trust your heart, dear Anon. There are plenty of ways a relationship can turn out, dozens of little nuances that can define it. The only way to clear the uncertainty is to forge ahead into the unknown on the path you see as best…or uh, wait for the story to end and ask me again. But that might be too late for your tastes. Yeah, I know I’m fairly unhelpful.

>>/blue/16915
I SEE YOU OVER THERE.

My update speeds annoy me, too. Won’t everybody be surprised when I get back to two plus updates per week? I know I will.
>> No. 166470
[x] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.
>> No. 166471
>>166399
Sigh. I'm being an indecisive prat.
[X] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?
>> No. 166472
>>166469
Okay, that does it.

[X] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?
>> No. 166474
[x] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?
>> No. 166475
File 13654831789.png - (267.65KB , 1250x1425 , 1265064187783.png ) [iqdb]
166475
I'm liking how the tide is turning
>> No. 166478
[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.
[X] Write in: Trade notes with her/inform her about Eirin's memory wiping shenanigans.
>> No. 166479
[x] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?
>> No. 166480
[X] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.
>> No. 166488
Huh.

That's worrisome.

... Has she beat up Yukari yet? Because otherwise, it's someone with scryproof.

Remind me, are we on D&D rules? If we are, we might be dealing with wizard with mindblank. If not, then we're dealing with a youkai that can out-boundary Reimu.

... Mima?
>> No. 166492
>>166488
Wrong thread: did your Teleport fail or something?
Try to become more familiar with the site or you'll keep having that 11% failure rate.
>> No. 166500
[X] Follow the nun. What was all of…that?

>>166467

I think this as well, and although I'm more interested in going after Tojiko (may lead to a meeting with the Taoist)I'm curious in figuring out Byakuren's behavior.
>> No. 166505
The battle lines seem drawn so I'll call the vote here.
>> No. 166511
[x] Shrine maiden watch. You can’t trust her with herself.

I really like this Reimu.
>> No. 166516
So when do we Mana Transfer with Byakuren?
>> No. 166517
>>166505
what vote won?
>> No. 166522
>>166516
I'm sure we'll need a little power up to defeat the eventual big bad, right?
>> No. 166527
>>166517
It looked like []Shrine Maiden Watch when I counted, but I'm not Zalsa, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
>> No. 166528
>>166522

Ah yes the origin of that, but I was also thinking of a certain scenario of a certain story on here that I'm not gonna name *cough* GENSOKYO HIGH *cough*

They do say love is the best medicine right?
>> No. 166529
>>166528
Use sage, you dumb fuck.
>> No. 166530
>>166529
No.
>> No. 166531
>>166529
Chill out, buddy. Bumping an active thread ain't gonna kill nobody.
>> No. 166532
sage errywhere, faggots
>> No. 166537
File 136561459373.jpg - (24.00KB , 450x485 , sage-leaves-for-skin-face-care.jpg ) [iqdb]
166537
>>166517
See: >>166527

>>166532
You missed one you piece of shit.
>> No. 166538
Welp here comes an uneventful update then.

Thanks alot, guys
>> No. 166540
File 136561815672.png - (26.43KB , 757x462 , thanks_alot_by_kiki_akuma-d3eafmb.png ) [iqdb]
166540
>>166538
You're welcome.
>> No. 166659
File 136599528959.jpg - (360.56KB , 800x600 , this-could-go-right-or-go-very-wrong.jpg ) [iqdb]
166659
You idly stroke Yoshika’s hair while you think about what has happened. Something is going on with Byakuren, that much is certain. The little contact with Tojiko the not-quite-friendly Taoist ghost was the ignition, but little more.

However, figuring out what that nun is thinking is a tall feat. You have your suspicions, the warm yellow scarf that Yoshika is currently rubbing her face into being prime evidence, but nothing concrete.

Whatever Byakuren is bothered about, you feel like you’re a primary cause. Not to be narcissistic or anything, but that’s just the way it feels.

Even if you weren’t, you know you are still one of the last people qualified to go and help out with any personal issues. In the end, letting Byakuren reflect is probably for the best. You can always go and talk with her later tonight.

That’s definitely for the best. At the very least, the close proximity of other people should prevent her from blowing up if you say something stupid.

Or you’ll just lose a place to sleep. That’d suck. All those clothes you bought are still there.

She’d probably be kind enough to throw them out along with you, if that happened.

With that little problem worked out for now, there’s another you have to deal with.

Well, two problems, but one should be simple. “Hey Mokou, can you feed Yoshika for me?”

“Eh? Sure I can, no problem. What’d you like?”

“Just uh, throw some raw chicken at her. That should be fine.”

“Master…” The zombie groans, clutching to your chest.

“Come on now, Yoshika. Sit right here.” With some effort, you lift the zombie girl and place her on the seat next to you. She is far too wiggly after you fixed that stiffness problem. “Now, be a good girl and open wide.”

Yoshika looks none too pleased at your brush off, but does as you instruct. A second later, a slice of chicken goes flying-

Did Mokou actually throw the-

Well, whatever. Yoshika’s mouth clamps down on the food. The zombie girl chews and swallows before opening her mouth again.

After another three slices, Yoshika is grinning and eagerly snapping up more food. Mokou is slowly stepping further and further away from the counter, lobbing slices of chicken into the air. Without fail, Yoshika darts forward and catches the food in her jaws.

Problem two solved. It wasn’t much of a problem in the first place, anyway. You just don’t like it when Yoshika is upset by any amount.

Now for the third problem. “Reimu, you need to rest.”

“Hrmh?” The shrine maiden rolls her head and lies on her cheek in order to face you.

“Look at yourself. You need to go home and take a break. A little nap, at least.”

“Nhn.”

“Why not? You can’t even speak properly. How can you keep investigating like this?”

“Gotta.”

“Is this really important enough that you’d exhaust yourself like this?”

“Yes.” Reimu sits up and looks you in the eyes. For a moment, all of her fatigue disappears. She, the indomitable shrine maiden of Gensokyo, answers you with utmost conviction. Then her brief surge of power fades and she drops her head back onto the counter.

“Why?” You ask. What is driving this girl in her work? She’s a teenager. Teenaged girls are supposed to be going out with friends or complaining about school or something.

“M’ job. Got’sa do it.”

“Isn’t it Kotohime’s job to catch murderers?”

“Mhm.”

“Then why are you killing yourself over this?”

“‘Cause. M’ job.”

This girl is obstinate. Worse, when she’s like this, she isn’t giving you much else to work with. “Reimu, repeating yourself isn’t helping in this case.”

“My. Job.” The brunette struggles up again, planting her elbows on the counter while she stares at you. She speaks slowly, laboring for every word to be pronounced properly. “Hakurei shrine maintains Gensokyo. Humans and youkai…expect incident solving.”

“Protect them. Persecute them. They expect it. My. Job.” Reimu punctuates her words with a nod of her head, willing you to understand.

You think you get her reasoning. Everybody has expectations. If you fail to meet them, they’ll think less of you. With the broad job description of the Hakurei, Reimu has a lot to live up to.

If she cares about what other people think. “That’s stupid. If you don’t want to, then you shouldn’t have to do any of this. Live for yourself, not others.”

“Stupid?”

“Yeah. Who cares what other people think? Keep Gensokyo’s peace? That’s ridiculous. You’re just one girl. How can you- Urk.”

The paper talisman slaps you in the forehead. It’s just paper, but it shuts you up.

“Not. Stupid.” Reimu rises again, staring you down. Even though she’s exhausted, she looks pissed now.

Funny. Why is that the one emotion you can always recognize? Survival instinct, maybe? “Family job Generations. My family, my job.”

You don’t get it. She obviously works hard at her job, but she’s the only Hakurei shrine maiden there is. How much can people expect from one-

Last…One…

Right. You’re a damn idiot.

You’ve never had much of a family drive. Useless parents that you don’t particularly remember tend to do that. But you’d go to hell and back for your sister. If anybody would dare besmirch your sister, they would have to face your wrath.

Assume you cared about more than your sister, more than your nuclear family. What if you had an entire clan you cared for?

You don’t know the particular details. Byakuren never told you. But, Reimu is the lone Hakurei shrine maiden maintaining the balance in Gensokyo, a duty that used to be shared by the entire Hakurei clan.

Calling the dead family’s work stupid? You’re the smartest person around!

Still, all of this doesn’t change the fact that she’s working too hard. “Okay, my mistake. It’s respectable work. What you do is admirable. But you know that constant work only makes you work worse? It’s counter-productive.”

Reimu nods tiredly, seemingly placated by your apology. “Doesn’t…matter. Can’t stop. Can’t…be lazy. Expect work, gotta work. Gotta stop ‘em, Gotta…gotta…go.” The shrine maiden pushes off from the counter again, this time floating into the air.

“No, Reimu. You can’t-”

“Why?” Reimu lands on the ground and glares at you. “What…you want? Errybody wants.”

She’s asking you about your motives? “I can’t just want to help you?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Nice, isn’t. Motives everywhere.” Reimu looks away from you and up at the sky. You’d say she’s looking into her memories, if anything. “Friends? Relatives? Branch families, supporters, worshippers? Are, for, themselves.”

A grudge? People…who should be helping her? You don’t know. You don’t know enough about her to draw any substantive conclusions, and you aren’t going to ask now.

All you know about is an austere shrine, free of decorations. A shrine quite a distance away from the human village. A shrine that, in your short stay, had no human visitors other than the ones that were brought over by the inhabiting shrine maiden herself.

You know that claiming you just want to help her won’t work. Reimu won’t listen to you with that reasoning.

“Okay. You’re right. I’m not being altruistic.” You take a deep breath. This probably isn’t smart, but if Reimu wants more of the truth, you’ll give it to her. “I’m trying to get on your good side. You’re the single strongest human in Gensokyo. Having you indebted to me can only be helpful in the future.”

“Hmph.” That’s her only response. Reimu attentively listened to you, and then turned away. The shrine maiden slowly floats towards the sky, unwilling to end her search.

Screw that.

You stand up and grab Reimu’s wrist before she draws too far away.

“You!” She whirls around in the air, kicking her legs up as she brings her free hand blazing down towards you.

Her second wrist slams into your waiting hand. She’s slower than normal, and not as serious. An open-hand strike? You stop that easily enough.

The shrine maiden glares even harder and tries to pull her hands away, but you don’t let go of her wrists. “You’re the single strongest force in Gensokyo. The most obvious force. If somebody is doing something wrong, of course they’ll hide it from you. And it’ll be easy for them. If interrogating everybody hasn’t yielded a solution, it won’t no matter how often you try.” You’ve been on both sides of the coin, so you know how to avoid the unstoppable force. There are never enough people to check every single shadowed corner.

Reimu struggles in your grip, trying to pull away. She tries to drag you into the air with her, but you’re grounded. The joke’s on her; after she gifted you with her brand of flight, you’ve come to an understanding of how it works.

Weightlessness. Separation. A kind of border, between her and the world.

When you say ‘understanding,’ you refer to the idea that ‘Reimu is full of bullshit magical powers that you can’t even guess where they stop.’

The point is, as long as you’re touching her, and you’re trying to be an anchor and have a means of doing so, she probably isn’t going anywhere.

Probably.

Actually, that explanation is full of holes.

If Reimu was trying, you’re sure you’d be turned into jelly.

Whatever. You’ll theorize about it later. “You need to rest, Reimu. Your search won’t-” Damn that hurts!

You land on your ass, knocked over when Reimu decided to head-butt you. Either Reimu has the pain tolerance of a sponge, or she pulled some sort of nonsense. It felt like a cannonball barreled into your skull.

You should’ve expected something like that, given how violent she can be.

The shrine maiden is already far above you by the time you recover. Luckily, you can follow her up. “Reimu. You have to rest.”

The shrine maiden glances down and sees you flying after her. “You…don’t care. Leave m’alone.”

“You can’t keep going Reimu! You’re just making yourself vulnerable by not resting.”

“Go ‘way!” She tosses another paper talisman at you, but you swat it out of the air. She isn’t pulling out ridiculous yin-yang orbs and the shots she is throwing are slow as molasses compared to normal. What does that say about her physical state?

“Reimu! You’re only going to get yourself hurt.”

“I won’t!” The girl shouts down at you, the strong display of emotion surprising. “Hate you, always!”

You ignore the shrine maiden and fly level with her. “Reimu.”

“Why? Never gonna help you ‘gain. Go ‘way.”

She just doesn’t get it. How can she not see it?

You don’t understand yourself most of the time. Sure, you can plan ahead, but you’re just usually spouting off whatever your emotions tell you. You can think and rationalize, but that doesn’t mean much of anything after you’ve punched out the Arch Paladin of your order because he’s kind of a dick.

Same thing here, really. “You were looking for another reason. I gave you one. That doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want to see you hurt yourself like this. That’s my main reason, whether you believe it or not.”

“You…rrgh…” Reimu clenches her fist and bites her lip, her mind wrapping around your words.

Then realization alights in her eyes and she practically grins. She reaches out to tap-

-yourstomachtwistsandturnsasyoufeelthebordersrightthemselvesastheyshouldbeand-

You dip slightly in the air, but nothing else happens. You grin at the shrine maiden who just tried to take your flight from you.

Thank the Hijiri’s for their kindness and generosity.

Reimu’s mood immediately sours again once she sees that you aren’t relying on her for flight. Her gaze immediately drops to the scarf around your neck, but she doesn’t try to take that from you. Instead, she chooses to continue up into the sky. “…Won’t stop.”

Damn, she’s stubborn.

[ ] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[ ] Logic and reason will work eventually
-[ ] Reminisce about the past. Hers, preferably
-[ ] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services
[ ] Escort the fair maiden home
-[ ] Physically, she’s feeling pretty weak and restrainable
-[ ] A little induced unconscious never hurt
-[ ] The results of a spell card duel are binding
[ ] Give up. Once she crashes, she’ll come to her senses
-[ ] Time to do <other things>
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>166471
Being indecisive now and again is everybody’s right! Just, uh, don’t do that when the situation matters. You might not like the results. Or you may. I probably would.

>>166516
I wonder. I wonder…

>>166528
Indeed it is! The power of love overcomes all!

>>166538
Events are too stressful. Why can’t we just live our uneventful daily lives?
>> No. 166660
[x] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[x] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services

This is going a bit better than I expected. There's 0 needles that need pulling out.

Here's hoping this works. I mean isn't that what people were hoping to do? It's not like anyone lied just because they didn't want a Byakuren scene as that's just petty.
>> No. 166661
[x] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[x] Logic and reason will work eventually
>> No. 166662
[X] Escort the fair maiden home
-[X] The results of a spell card duel are binding

She seems tired enough to lose at Danmaku and I think that would make he realize she really isn't on top shape.
(And if she's still being stubborn we can point out that nobody's gonna respect a shrine maiden that just lost to Random McNecro in danmaku of all things)
>> No. 166664
[x] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[x] Logic and reason will work eventually

Were starting to break through...
>> No. 166665
[x] Keep talking, you’ll get there
[x] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services
>> No. 166666
[X] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[X] Logic and reason will work eventually
-[X] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services

Logic and help, the perfect combo!
>> No. 166674
[X] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[X] Logic and reason will work eventually

Shouldn't be too hard for the MC.
>> No. 166675
>>166674
[x] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[x] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services
>> No. 166676
[x] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[x] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services

I can talk to dead people!

...This might piss off the local reapers. Maybe you can cover for me?
>> No. 166677
[X] Escort the fair maiden home
-[X] The results of a spell card duel are binding
When she realizes that she lost to the new kid, she'll realize that she needs some goddamn sleep.
>> No. 166678
>>166677
I think we all know this is how Gensokyans show they care: with danmaku. And that is totally something MC would do.

That said, Necroanon is a kid with water wings; you don't just take a dive into the deepest part of the ocean. If you haven't decided drowning (in yinyang bullets) is an exciting new lifestyle choice, anyway.
>> No. 166681
[x] Keep talking, you’ll get there.
-[x] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services.

The best way to get her to stop pressing forward and take a nap is by convincing her that it won't stop progress on the investigation.
>> No. 166685
[X] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[X] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services

She could use the help of someone accustomed to hiding from authority figures.
>> No. 166705
[X] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[X] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services

Hey, there's no shame in a little sub-contracting, just for a bit.
>> No. 166707
... I'm not sure we'd lose to her right now.

Yes, she's worn out and exhausted.

She knows this. She'll just open with -Blink- <Lunatic> and go up from there.
>> No. 166724
[X] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[X] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services

"Hey Reimu, If I could get a piece of the body we could ASK the man-ghost himself about what happened. Didn't do that before because people get angry with people of my trade."

Talking to the dead is pretty convenient when you're a murder investigator.
>> No. 166727
File 13661656177.jpg - (717.36KB , 1800x700 , gates.jpg ) [iqdb]
166727
[x] Keep talking, you’ll get there
-[x] Pass the baton. Offer your peculiar investigative services
It IS her job, but she had help before, and she can (should) ask for it again.

Picture unrelated
>> No. 166970
File 136668723011.jpg - (133.70KB , 500x700 , this-shrine-maiden-is-only-human.jpg ) [iqdb]
166970
“Reimu, you need to rest!”

“No.”

“C’mon Reimu!”

“No.”

“Whatever happened to going home, huh? I’m pretty sure you said you were going to do that.”

“Needed supplies.”

“So you can just go back another time-”

“No.”

“Okay, stop!” You dart ahead of Reimu and hold up a hand. Luckily, the shrine maiden humors you and slows to a halt.

“What?” She stares at you with half-lidded eyes.

As much as you want to force her to understand, you do your best to talk things out. “You’re tired and hurting. You haven’t found the criminal. Agreed?”

“Mhm.”

“You aren’t likely to find the criminal using the same method you always do, yes?”

“No.”

“Reimu!”

The shrine maiden puffs her cheeks out petulantly. “Maybe. Got’sa try.”

“No, you don’t.” It’d be irresponsible to let Gensokyo’s powerful shrine maiden continue with her insanity when there’s a better option. “How about letting me work my magic instead?”

“No.” Reimu’s response is out before you even finish making your offer.

The rejection isn’t too surprising. You can’t really remember a time when a sane person wanted your necromantic help. “What? Why?”

“Wrong.”

Damn. You didn’t think Reimu was one to care so much about these kinds of things. You suppose she is more a paragon of tolerance. As long as you don’t disturb the peace she could care less what you are or do. But when it comes to her work, she holds herself to her own high moral standards.

This stigma against your current profession is, once more, a wall.

You aren’t going to give up on this, though. You’re tired of rolling over when the subject comes up – besides, you don’t think Reimu will you beat you to death for your abilities.

Sure, you pegged her wrong before, but you’re more confident in this assessment. “There’s no better witness to a murder than the victim himself. If his spirit answers even a few of my questions, it would be enough to give you firmer leads on a suspect.”

“No.”

“Why? There’s nothing to be afraid of. I know what I do makes people uncomfortable, but it’s what I’m best at. It’s the way I know I can help you.”

“Tsk.” You see Reimu’s eyes widen slightly before she glances away. The shrine maiden floats in the air and taps her fingers against her shoulders, giving you the cold shoulder.

She’s listening to you, like she always does. She should be able to understand. “I’m telling you, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just a short call. I’m not keeping him from whatever afterlife awaits. This is the surest way of helping you with your duties. I can make your work-”

“Fine.”

You shut your trap and make sure you heard her correctly. “F-Fine?”

“Mhm.” Reimu nods and flies off, leaving you to play catch up.

You can’t believe she actually said yes! Is this a decisive victory against womankind with only the voice of reason? It’s a day for the history books!

She’s a pragmatist, then? Maybe she was worried about others’ perceptions of her, again? You aren’t quite sure what convinced her to agree to your idea, but you aren’t complaining.

“Great! Okay, that’s cool. I just need part of the victim’s body and some time to set up. The ritual’s preparation work isn’t difficult, but it takes time. It’ll be a while, so during the wait you can rest back at-”

The Hakurei shrine zips by on the right. You don’t think Reimu even glanced at her home.

Maybe not a decisive victory.

You speed up some and take position at Reimu’s shoulder. “We just passed the shrine.”

“Mhm.”

“Just to clarify, you’re fine with me helping you.”

“Mhm.”

“You’re fine with me using my magic to do so.”

“Mhm.”

“I would be taking on some of the investigative work for you.”

“Mhm.”

“So you can take a break and go rest.”

“No.”

This girl.

“My job.” Once more, Reimu takes a firm stance and refuses to budge. Apparently, you need supervision like a little kid.

“Fine, fine.” Not exactly what you wanted, but you guess this is as good as you’ll get without forcing her to back down. At least she isn’t flying around picking fights with others. As long as nothing goes wrong, Reimu should be able to doze off to the side while you work your magic. At this point, she needs any amount of rest she can get.

As the two of you approach the village, Reimu fills you in on what she has found out. That is to say, she reiterates what Kotohime found out about the victim. “Drunkard. Drug addict. Charity case. Temp jobs. Petty criminal. No family.”

That is to say, he was at the bottom of society. Whether he was down on his luck or a spineless waste of space you can’t say, but life certainly didn’t end well for him.

“Recovered some books. Fairies looted them.” It seems he was the book thief that burglarized Kosuzu’s store, but the reasons for the crime are still unknown.

Reimu lists the book titles for you, but of course the book you want isn’t among them. That would’ve been too easy.

“You seem peppier, Reimu.” The shrine maiden waves to the guards on the wall as the two of you pass over the village. Everything about the shrine maiden seems more alert compared to when she was collapsed at Mokou’s food stall.

The food stall?

Oops.

You glance back but don’t see anybody else following you.

You’ll have to go back and pick up Yoshika before you start anything serious. You didn’t mean to forget about her, but you just had other things on your mind.

She shouldn’t be too angry, right? Mokou can do a good job of watching her. They looked like they were having fun.

Uh, you really hope she isn’t upset. She’s the only one consistently supporting you, after all.

“Focusing. Getting ready,” Reimu answers you.

“Getting ready? Getting ready for what?” You don’t see any reason to be on edge. The skies are clear and the villagers are milling about their day.

“This,” Reimu says, before dive bombing towards the ground.

You watch the shrine maiden swoop down towards the village. She looks like she’s going to crash into the pavement, but she comes to a jarring halt right in front of a building. It’s a brick structure, more modern looking than the houses and shops around it. Over the doorway, there’s a sign that reads ‘Gensokyo Police Office,’ and in smaller characters you see ‘Central Guardhouse.’

Reimu takes no time in roughly slamming open the door and stepping in.

Huh. You aren’t going to follow that stunt.

As you drift closer at a reasonable and safe pace, you hear shouting. “You can’t be back here!”

“Ms. Hakurei, please-”

“That’s my corpse! Bring him back!”

“Don’t draw your sword on her!”

“Who brought that here?”

“Someone stop her!”

“My cooooorpse!”

“Lady Kotohime, that isn’t-”

“Stop her!”

Before you reach the ground, Reimu comes stomping back out of the building, a large bag carried in her hands.

That’s a body bag if you’ve ever seen one.

Simple blue plastic with a zipper running down the center, Reimu flies up to you with the bag balanced in her grip.

“Here.” The shrine maiden pushes her burden into your hands.

Yup, that’s a body bag. A filled one, too. You can feel the corpse through the plastic. You assume it’s your not-so-mobile book thief.

So.

It looks like you have something to work with?

“You know, when I said a part of him, I really only meant a part. Like, a toe bone or something. A pinkie finger. Maybe just some strands of hair.”

Reimu shrugs.

“You!”

Back down on the street, you see Kotohime burst out of the building, the redhead still dressed in her long purple robe. She also has an awfully modern looking rifle held in her hands.

Gensokyo’s self-proclaimed police officer rushes out onto the street, aiming the gun up towards where Reimu, and you, float. A group of men run behind her, the village guards either unarmed or carrying iron batons. They’re shouting, “Stop!” but you can’t tell who they’re shouting at.

“Go.” Reimu commands you, before floating back towards the ground.

Taking the shrine maiden’s kind advice, you quickly move over to the side of the street and out of the danger zone.

When you look back down at the mess, you have no idea what’s going on.

Kotohime is down there raging, several of the guards holding on to her arms while they take the gun away from her. The guards that were already on the street are also involving themselves, rushing to the defense of their eccentric leader. Villagers are stopping in place, pointing and shouting as they add to the confusion.

A pretty nasty brawl is brewing as the guards squabble over-

The burst of gunfire brings the commotion to a standstill.

You can’t tell which of the four people with their hands on the rifle actually fired it, but you imagine they are all regretting it.

After all, Reimu is floating just above them, eyes narrowed as she looks at the bullet held in her fingers.

Wait.

Did she catch the bullet?

If she did, that is the most stupidly broken bullshit magical nonsense you have ever-

People start screaming as the incarnation of wrath descends from the heavens.

Time to leave before the yin-yang orbs start flying. The question is, where are you going to do this? While you could try the summoning ritual anywhere, there are different factors to take into account. You have a feeling that finding the dead man’s spirit is going to be a difficult affair. A place where the border between life and death is weaker, like Muenzuka, might give you the edge you need. On the other hand, the raw amount of magic in the forest could boost your ritual suitably.

Location is such a tricky decision. Places where others won’t bother you are ideal, but being close to allies in case something goes wrongs is something to consider. A wild youkai interrupting your work would not make you happy, but neither would a dozen armed monks.

Then, of course, there’s timing to consider. The transitions between night and day are the most effect times to summon the dead, to be sure. However, while the ritual might be less successful under the sun, you wouldn’t have to deal with the dangers of darkness. On the other hand, the dead of night offers a shroud of secrecy for your work. Giving yourself more time to prepare isn’t a bad thing, either. There are always more resources you can gather and precautions you can take to improve success.

Then, of course, is the matter of Reimu. You planned on doing this alone, without an irate shrine maiden watching you like a hawk. If you just flew off without telling her where you were going…

[ ] Bamboo Forest of the Lost
[ ] Forest of Magic
[ ] Hakurei Shrine
[ ] Muenzuka
[ ] Myouren Temple’s Cemetery
[ ] <Write-in>

[ ] Day
[ ] Dusk
[ ] Dark
[ ] Dawn

[ ] Ditch Reimu
[ ] Inform Reimu

[ ] <Write-in>

---

I…I actually managed to write something this week? Hallelujah! Now let’s see where I screwed something up…

>>166678
Maybe not the ocean, but the deep end of the pool, perhaps? Nothing’s more fun than diving and having an adult scoop you up after drowning for a second or two.

>>166681
I posit the best way to force a nap is chloroform.

>>166724
Until the ghost outright lies to you and gets everybody on their shit-list arrested. Evidence gathered through necromancy is inadmissible in most modern courts, unfortunately.

>>166727
>ask
>again
Did she ever do that in the first place?
>> No. 166981
[X] Muenzuka
[X] Dusk
[X] Inform Reimu

The ritual should work the best there, and we have a squad of allied zombies there so it should be safe to work at dusk. We should inform Reimu, too: having her along will make the whole thing less shady if anyone happens along during the ritual. Don't know how she'll take the whole zombie thing, but I'm sure if we explain the circumstances she won't get mad.
>> No. 166982
[X] Muenzuka
[X] Dusk
[X] Inform Reimu

So,as a pro, we'll have Reimu, the zombies, the mice, and lots of spirit energy to work with. The con would be suddendly taoists or shinigamis.

> Necromancy not admissible in court rooms
Check your clerical privilege, in my times Ressurection was necromancy! ok no.
>> No. 166985
[X] Muenzuka
[X] Dusk
[X] Inform Reimu

Sounds good as any
>> No. 166994
[x] Bamboo Forest of the Lost
[X] Inform Reimu
>> No. 166999
[X] Muenzuka
[X] Dusk
[X] Inform Reimu

>“My cooooorpse!”
Orin? Is that you?
>> No. 167003
[X] Muenzuka
[X] Dusk
[X] Inform Reimu

We're probably going to be accosted by shinigami or something if we go there, but it's still a pretty good location.
>> No. 167022
[X] Muenzuka
[X] Dusk
[X] Inform Reimu
Between having Dio and our other Jiang-shi run interference and Nazrin's rodents, we should be pretty good, even if Komachi decides to come visit.
>> No. 167023
>>166981
[X] Muenzuka
[X] Dusk
[X] Inform Reimu

What he said.
>> No. 167025
[ ] Ditch Reimu
[ ] Muenzuka
[ ] Dawn

Find it on the road to dawn.
>> No. 167029
[X] Muenzuka
[X] Dusk
[X] Inform Reimu

Trying this in a graveyard is just asking for someone else to barge in and try to get another chance at life.
>> No. 167034
>>167022
I wouldn't be that worried about Komachi, she's as lazy as she is well-endowed.
>> No. 167038
File 136676240515.jpg - (52.58KB , 600x839 , life-is-what-you-make-of-it.jpg ) [iqdb]
167038
A shining beacon
A powerful, guiding light
How strange, wonderful

Life anew, again
New experiences, how great
How dazzling, how frank

No subtle intrigue
No ulterior motives
Just undying love

Gratitude and care
Generosity and hope
Divine selflessness

Words cannot express
Thoughts still unconveyable
Yet emotions, are

What do I yet think?
Yet act? On feeling alone?
A painful divide

Through blatant action
Belabored, clumsy action
Hope, for expression

Can they feel my thoughts?
Do I know what I think here?
Try, try, try, and hope.

Is there a hurry?
Eternity awaits me
But, I ask, do they?


---

>>166981
Optimism is nice. We need more of that in the world.

>>166999
Unfortunately not. As much as I love the kitty, we’ll have to wait and see if she makes an appearance.

Anyway, as this thread breathes its last, I would like to encourage any comments or questions you all might have, about the story or otherwise. I’ll do my best to answer or avoid as appropriate.

If you’d rather not, things are still open for discussion or voting as you please. Once I manage to slack off from work enough, the next thread will continue the story!
>> No. 167051
>>167038
>Optimism is nice. We need more of that in the world.

Not sure if this is a "ha ha, you fell into my trap, dear reader" or not. Guess I'll be optimistic and hope it isn't!
>> No. 167055
>>167038
It appears as though the life of a zombie is just a bit more complex than it seems.

As for a question, just as a point of interest, how many blatant and/or subtle BAD ENDs have we avoided? Or if you're not going for those, and just continuing the story come hell or high water with the votes, how bad of a position could we possibly have been in by now?
>> No. 167056
Also, forgot my vote, but same as the tide.

[X] Muenzuka
[X] Dusk
[X] Inform Reimu
>> No. 167182
>>167051
Yeah! That’s the spirit!

>Bad Ends
A fair question. First, to clarify, I do approve the use of Bad Ends. I think they can be fun to write, can offer the reader information otherwise unavailable, and can help build tension/mystery in the story when used appropriately.

That being said, I don’t go out of my way to plan Bad Ends. If I’ve thought of a Bad End, it’s only because I thought of something interesting while brainstorming.

Looking back through the votes, you all have definitely played it safe as far as Bad Ends go. Any of the votes leading directly to a Bad End were a few choices off (or otherwise avoided through prior action). For example, Byakuren might’ve killed you upon meeting for all manner of reasons. There are plenty of others you may or may not have caught glimpses off, but I’ll give you a more exhaustive list later on if you ask again. I wouldn’t want to ruin any surprises you can still find.

However, death itself might not have been a Bad End per say, because…

>How deep in shit could you all be
I envision many ways this story can end. As a matter of fact, there were a few different ‘storyline routes’ this could have gone on depending on how some of the first votes went. Generally, these routes would have been:
A) Dying early
B) Finding the Necronomicon early
C) Not finding the Necronomicon early.

From what I imagine, the story would have taken some very different turns should one of the first two have happened instead of the third. Of course, there can still be some crazy swerves with what’s going on right now, too.

How it will all end is unknown, though. I’m as curious to find out just as much as you all might be.
>> No. 167184
If we die, can we come back as a lich?
>> No. 167186
>>167184
I dunno what system ZAL is using, but generally speaking lichdom requires a long period of preparation and ritual magic, that culminates with your death and transformation into a lich.

So if you die first, then no.
>> No. 167200
>>167182
Interesting to know, considering Byakuren is the closest thing to a love interest this story has, though the whole dead part might end up shifting things in favors or those not so living themselves.
>> No. 167254
>>167184
Short answer? No. Longer answer? In there: >>165957
>>167186 sums it up well enough.

>Systems
To be clear, I’m using my own fictional world’s rules. However, I have definitely taken influences (as far as spell systems go) from many sources. DnD and Nasuverse spells are probably some of the more well-known sources.

>>167200
Yeah, the characters available to interact with would vary greatly depending on the choices. Honestly, when I started out with the very first story post, I wasn’t even considering running into Byakuren until later, in a different role. But, it seems like it all worked out.

>>167252
>> No. 167724
On a side note, if/when we get out of this, I really, really pity whoever's behind this once Reimu gets a good night's (and day's) sleep.

Oh, wait, he's killed... *counts* five people, attempting to kill six more, and if Reimu got caught in the crossfire, the entirety of Gensoukyou. So nevermind, I don't.
>> No. 167735
>>167724
At the rate things seem to be going, I think a Deus Ex Machina is going to be needed even a minor one like Marisa.
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